CENTRAL CITY OPERA ANNOUNCES ITS THIRD OFFERING FOR THE 2012 FESTIVAL: BRITTEN'S THE TURN OF THE SCREW
Denver, Colo. (June 7, 2012) - As its final presentation in 2012, Central City Opera (CCO) celebrates the centenary of Benjamin Britten's birth in 1913 with a new production of Britten's The Turn of the Screw. The production opens on July 14, with performances continuing through August 4. The Turn of the Screw will be performed in English.
With a libretto by Myfanwy Piper, the opera is based on the novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. A chamber opera set in an English country house during the mid-nineteenth century, The Turn of the Screw tells the story of a Governess who keeps watch over two children, Miles and Flora, at their home called the Bly House. The story quickly unfolds as the Governess' seemingly simple job becomes a fight to protect the troubled children from the apparitions of Peter Quint and Miss Jessel, the former servant and governess. First premiered in London by the Sadler's Wells Opera in 1954 and described as one of the most dramatically appealing English operas, The Turn of the Screw is oftentimes recognized by its twelve-note 'Screw' theme, which precedes each of the opera's sixteen scenes.
Making his U.S. debut last summer directing CCO's Amadigi di Gaula, British stage director Alessandro Talevi returns to direct a new production of this ghost story. "The central question regarding The Turn of the Screw is whether the apparitions the Governess sees are real or imagined," says Talevi. "We have created a scenic environment that questions the concept of 'reality'. It plays with the idea of visual perception through the suggestion of camera obscura and photography, and how the eye translates strange or unusual information into concrete, recognizable images. The set can be seen not only as a literal depiction of Bly House, but also as a symbol of the Governess's mind- a dark place into which unfamiliar and disconcerting images penetrate, and which are then 'interpreted'."
Turn of the ScrewFest - July 21 & 29
Following the 2:30 p.m. performances on July 21 and 29 of Britten's The Turn of the Screw, attendees can enjoy Turn of the ScrewFest, an epic night of paranormal activities at Central City Opera's historic Teller House. A highly sensory experience, event goers take a trip to the other side with ghost stories, mind reading, intimate performances by Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret and Ballet Nouveau Colorado, and paranormal investigations with the OtherSide. Spirits and brew from Dostal Alley Casino and Brewpub will be offered along with delectable British pub fare. Turn of the ScrewFest is sponsored in part by vitaminwater and Popchips. Tickets are $60, which includes the opera The Turn of the Screw and paranormal activities following. Turn of the ScrewFest is an event of the 2012 Paranormal Project, events and happenings with organizations throughout Denver and beyond surrounding Central City Opera's production of The Turn of the Screw this summer. Visit www.centralcityopera.org/paranormal for more information.
A prize-winning finalist at the 2007 European Opera-Directing Prize in Wiesbaden, Alessandro Talevi will direct. Mr. Talevi was also the co-founder and artistic director of Independent Opera at Sadler's Wells in London, producing acclaimed stagings of works such as Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande and Händel's Orlando. Other recent successes have included The Turn of the Screw for Opera North in Leeds, La Cenerentola for Malmö Opera in Sweden, and several productions at the major London conservatories. Set and Costume Designer Madeleine Boyd also returns to CCO following her 2011 debut with her striking production design and costumes for Amadigi di Gaula that helped define and shape the magical and distinct "Harry Potter"-inspired set for the production. Other recent designs for Ms. Boyd include The Turn of the Screw with Opera North, Pelléas et Mélisande with Independent Opera at Lillian Bayliss Theatre, and La Cenerentola for Malmö Opera. David Martin Jacques returns this summer for his 12th festival as Resident Lighting Designer (Mr. Jacques will light all three productions for the 2012 Festival). He has been lauded for his design of more than 300 theatre, opera, television, dance and special event productions. Wig/Makeup Designer for all three productions in 2012 is Dave Bova, who is making his Central City Opera debut. Mr. Bova's recent work has included Cabaret and Death of a Salesman with The Dallas Theater Center, Sweeney Todd with Barrington Stage, and Annie Get Your Gun with Ravinia.
British maestro and Britten specialist Steuart Bedford returns to CCO as conductor of The Turn of the Screw. Bedford made his CCO debut with the 2005 regional premiere of Paul Bunyan. An orchestral and opera conductor, Mr. Bedford is closely associated with the music of Benjamin Britten and conducted the world premiere of Death in Venice in 1973. Bedford has also conducted Britten's other operas and made commercial recordings including an orchestral suite of music from Death in Venice. His other work in contemporary opera has included conducting the 1996 world premiere in Monte Carlo of Lowell Liebermann's The Picture of Dorian Gray. Colorado native, tenor Vale Rideout, returns to CCO as Peter Quint after his acclaimed performances as Edgardo in CCO's 2009 Lucia di Lammermoor, Sam in Susannah and the Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia in 2008, and the Prince in the 2007 production of Cendrillon. A former Central City Opera Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice Artist, Mr. Rideout has since performed throughout the United States and in Europe and will make his debut this season with the New York Philharmonic performing Britten's War Requiem. Most recently, Mr. Rideout won a 2011 Grammy for Best Engineered Album, Classical, for Milwaukee's Florentine Opera Company's production of Elmer Gantry in which he sang the role of Frank Shallard. Irish soprano Sinéad Mulhern makes her Central City Opera and role debut as the young and relentless Governess. Ms. Mulhern studied at The Juilliard School in New York and The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, finishing her training as a Young Artist at the Centre de Formation Lyrique at the Opéra National de Paris, and as a Central City Opera Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice Artist in 1994. She has performed many roles internationally including Adina in L'elisir d'amore and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte at the Toulon Festival, Sifare in Mozart's Mitridate at the Theâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Tatyana in Eugene Onegin with the Nationale Reisoper in the Netherlands, and Lucio Cinna in Mozart's Lucio Silla in a co-production between Opéra de Lausanne and Opéra de Caen. Mezzo-soprano Maria Zifchak returns to CCO as housekeeper Mrs. Grose, following her 2007 company debut as Madame de la Haltière in Cendrillon, and return engagements of Bianca in The Rape of Lucretia and Mrs. McLean in Susannah in 2008. A frequent performer with the Metropolitan Opera, Ms. Zifchak has recently performed there as Annina in La Traviata, Inez in Il Trovatore and Kasturbai in Satyagraha. She has also played Genevieve in Pelléas and Mélisande and both the Mother and the Witch in Hänsel and Gretel with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Dorabella in Così fan tutte with Seattle Opera and Arizona Opera. Australian-born soprano Rebecca Nash makes her debut with Central City Opera as the Governess' predecessor Ms. Jessel, a role she played in her American debut with the Boston Lyric Opera. Ms. Nash made her debut with the London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Barena in Jenufa under Bernard Haitink, and has since returned to join the company for the Fifth Maid in Elektra under Semyon Bychkov. Other credits include Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier with English National Opera, Magda in La rondine for Opera North, and Countess in Le nozze di Figaro at the Sydney Opera House. Ms. Nash is the recipient of Australia's highest honor in singing, the Inaugural Dame Joan Sutherland Singing Award and won first prize at the Herald Sun Aria and Australia Singing Competitions. CCO's Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice Artist soprano Alisa Suzanne Jordheim performs as Flora and Colorado Children's Chorale member, John Healy, will play the role of Miles.