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Shawn Bartels as Peter Quint in the Broomhill Opera 2000 production of Britten's 'The Turn of the Screw'. Photo (c) 2000 Topham/Haynes

'Entwining' was the word for this production, for -- as with Ian Bostridge's Royal Opera performance -- this Quint was not averse to physical as much as spiritual entanglement. Moshinsky had Bartels play Quint as a kind of youthful Magwitch-cum-sex maniac, virtually ravishing Miss Jessel on Miles's bed, and curling round his young victim like a noisome serpent. How far Jonathan Darbourne's Miles succumbed was, rightly, not clear, for his ascetic Miles seemed a nervy, fastidious, tuberculoid, already slightly unhinged child, and a delicate Chopin at the piano, ceding to the lively, tomboyish Flora of 13-year-old Nazan Fikret. Both were admirable singers, whose controlled acting and stylish fooling around spared us some of the occasional piping gaucheness that Myfanwy Piper's rhymes can unleash in the children. Tara Harrison's Miss Jessel succeeded marvellously well in establishing the intense relationship with Flora -- often underpowered -- near the end.

Nazan Fikret as Flora and Tara Harrison as Miss Jessel in the Broomhill Opera 2000 production of Britten's 'The Turn of the Screw'. Photo (c) 2000 Topham/Haynes

 

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Copyright © 23 December 2000 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK

 

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