The Turn of the screw, Britten – Opera

Daniel Harding, Luc Bondy – Mireille Delunsch (The governess) – Aix-en-Provence Festival

Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw in an intense and mysterious production by Luc Bondy.

A young governess is hired at Bly House to look after two children, Miles and Flora. The employer, the children's uncle, imposes on the young lady three conditions: never to write to him about the children, never to inquire about the history of Bly House, and never to abandon the children. The strange conditions worry the governess, but soon the children's kindness and innocence clear up her fears. One night, the governess is awoken by the noise of footsteps behind the bedroom's door. A ghost appears. It is Quint, the former valet accused of abusing the children, who died earlier in mysterious conditions. It will not be the sole apparition. The ghost of Miss Jessel, the former governess, lurks around the lake. The young lady is terrified. She swore not to write to her employer, but breaks her promise...

Premiered at La Fenice during the 1954 Venice Biennale, The Turn of the Screw is a chamber opera drawing its inspiration from a novella written by Henry James. On a dark and mysterious plot, Benjamin Britten composes a remarkable music combining modern sonorities with nursery rhymes, including Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son, in order to depict the peculiar atmosphere of the original novel. Luc Bondy's production left its mark on the Aix-en-Provence Festival's audience in 2001. The sobriety of the set designs and the simplicity of the performers' acting shrink the visual elements down to the essential, intensify the dramatic tension, and further darken the plot of this extraordinary opera.

© Picture: Elizabeth Carecchio.

Luc Bondy stage director


Mireille Delunsch (the Governess)
Gregory Monk (Miles)
Nazan Fikret (Flora)
Hanna Schaer (Mrs Grose)
Marlin Miller (Peter Quint)
Marie McLaughlin (Miss Jessel)
Olivier Dumait (Prologue)


Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Daniel Harding musical direction

Movie director : Vincent Bataillon
Music genre : Voice

Duration : 01 h 47 min
Location : Aix-en-Provence Festival (Aix-en-Provence, France)
Production date : 2001
Production : © Bel Air Media / Arte France / France 3 / France Musique / Festival d'Aix-en-Provence
Available version(s) : EN



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