Byre Opera presents The Turn of the Screw

Michael Downes
Michael Downes
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The University of St Andrews’ in-house opera company ‘Byre Opera’ will take to the stage of the Byre Theatre in a new production of Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw.

Composed in 1954, this is the third of Britten’s chamber operas to be presented by the company, which highlights the best of the University’s vocal talent in otherwise entirely professional productions of chamber-scale opera.

The Turn of the Screw will be directed by Tania Holland Williams, a singer, opera director and arts producer who has previously

worked with the Royal Opera House, the Royal Academy and the British Council.

Williams is no stranger to St Andrews, having directed the company’s much-admired production of Britten’s Albert Herring in 2014.

Design and costumes are by Gregor Donnelly. The performances will be conducted by the University’s Director of Music, Dr Michael Downes, who is excited at the prospect of presenting this opera in particular: “The Turn of the Screw is one of the finest operas of the twentieth century, and the third of Britten’s chamber operas.

“Its evocation of the mysterious, claustrophobic atmosphere of Henry James’s ghost story is ideally suited to the intimacy of the Byre, and we are delighted to be bringing it here following our acclaimed productions of The Rape of Lucretia (2010) and Albert Herring (2014).

“The opera features a masterly orchestral score in which magical sounds of harp, celeste and percussion loom large; it will be performed by some of Scotland’s most accomplished instrumentalists under the leadership of Feargus Hetherington.”

The performances will take place at the Byre Theatre on Wednesday 22, Thursday 23 and Friday 24 June beginning at 7.30pm. Tickets are available from the Byre Box Office (01334 475000) priced £17, £13 (concessions, Music Centre members) and £7.50 (students, Under 26). In addition, ticket holders can enjoy a two-course dinner with wine for just £12.95 in the Byre on

the evening for which they hold tickets.