#83 The Turn of the Screw

What a treat to run into Christopher Mattaliano at the opera today and in Philadelphia of all places. He currently runs the opera company Orpheus PDX in Portland and is a big part of their thriving opera scene.

I recognized him because in Portland he greets the audience and fields Q and A sessions. He has a warm amiability that pulls people in and his passion for opera is infectious. So what brings him here? It turns out the conductor Michelle Rofrano who led The Fall of the House of Usher in the summer, is also conducting The Turn of the Screw. Further, it is directed by Chas Rader-Shieber who directed PDX’s Orfeo by Monteverdi. It was generous of Mr. Mattaliano to offer a few minutes of coversation and a picture.

I such a Benjamin Britten fan and just love his use of discordant sounds in such combinations that they become beautiful together. His references to childrens rhymes and other music styles really stretches the soundscapes. A master of world building.

Tonight he turns the screw of notes to a tense climax.

Turn of the Screw was fantastic and I’m always struck that so much time and effort for just two performances. It makes me feel fortunate to catch such brief performances.

So What’s Turn of the Screw all about?
Based on a Henry James story it tells the tale of a governess who comes to Bly house to take care of two children, but the ghosts are ever present to complicate the governesses new position.

Notes on the Production:

Composer………………………………. Benjamin Britten
Libretto…………………………………. Myfanwy Piper

Governess………………………………. Olivia Smith
Flora……………………………………… Maya Mor Mitrani
Miles……………………………………… Cavan Hurley
Mrs. Grose……………………………… Emily Damasco
Peter Quint…………………………….. Ben Schaefer
Miss Jessel……………………………… Emilie Kealani

Conductor………………………………. Michelle Rofrano

Philadelphia Film Center Stage
11/20/22

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