A guide to Benjamin Britten’s intense opera The Turn of the Screw. Piper began sending draft copies of the libretto in early and by this time Britten was. Benjamin Britten- The Turn of a Screw (libretto) – Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online. Benjamin Britten- The Turn of a Screw (libretto). Some of the oldest passages in the libretto of Benjamin Britten’s opera The Turn of the Screw are the Latin bits – the most cryptic parts of what is.

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Baltic, Bosnian and the Caspian, The Governess goes into the children’s schoolroom where she sees the ghost of Miss Jessel seated at the teacher’s desk. Go to sleep, my dolly dear. How you do tease.

Filthy Britten | Education | The Guardian

A singer known as Prologue tells about a young governess who remains unnamed throughout the opera he once knew who cared for two children at Bly House. Dear God, is there no end to his dreadful ways? She presses him to confess, whilst Quint savagely demands Miles not betray him. She tells him of the letter to his guardian but he barely responds as the voice of Quint intervenes, she leaves despondent. What can I do? Her fears depart her but she is soon brought back to earth when a letter from Miles’s school arrives informing her that Miles has been expelled.

Miles takes the Governess’s letter across to his bedroom. Despised, betrayed, unwanted she must go forever to my joyless spirit bound, “The ceremony of innocence is drowned” The Ghosts come together. There have been endless television adaptations and perhaps most bizarrely a Star Trek episode entitled “Sub Rosa” featuring a Ned Quint and a Jessel Howard.


It’s popularity ever since is easy to underestimate: Master Miles, your hair!

Untried, innocent, she had gone first libreyto see their guardian in London; a young man, bold, offhand and gay, the children’s only relative. My first foolish fears are all vanished now, are all banished now – those fluttering fears when I could not forget the letter – when I heard a far off cry in the night – and once a faint footstep passed my door.

Some fearful madman locked away there? The industrial revolution was driving much of the wealth away from rural areas towards major cities.

Miles is reciting Latin with help from Flora and the Governess. May she never be confounded. What scrrew child has poured out in her dreams – things I never knew nor hope to know, nor sccrew remember. The unspoken and unspeakable are broached, but never outspokenly. Master Miles is wonderful at lessons, and Miss Flora’s sharp too.

The Stratford Festival Story1st edition. Here she is now. The same team would present the opera at Sadler’s Wells and it was swiftly recorded in part because of fears Hemmings’s voice would break by Decca becoming the first complete record of a Britten opera. We must do Miles’ Latin. As she questions him, the ghost of Quint pressures Miles not to betray him.

The Governess is hearing Miles his Latin lesson. It is there on the desk, there on the desk. She lays him down on the ground. They ride if as the Governess comes in. I don’t know what she means. Some servant – no!

The housekeeper tells the Governess that the letter was never mailed and that Miles must have taken it.

The Governess comes out of the house. Mrs Grose remains unaware of the subtext thinks it sweet until the Governess informs her of the children’s bizarre behaviour. The practicalities of the stage however mean any production has to make something of a decision, we’ve seen it go both ways! Later she sees the same man looking in through a window. Send for him to come?


Piper began sending draft copies of the libretto in early and by this time Britten was reduced to writing letters to her with his left hand. He looks steadily at her then turns and vanishes.

Grose goes quickly to Flora and takes her off.

The Turn of the Screw

In her room, the Governess worries about the evil she feels in the house. Lost in my labyrinth I see no truth. Who can I ask, with none of my brittdn to talk to? Only one thing I wish, that I could sea him – and that he could sea how well I do his bidding.

Filthy Britten

But she is troubled by footsteps she has heard outside her door and cries in the night. But if we are neat and nimble and clever pussy-cat’s cradle will go on for ever. A narrator of sorts who opens the evening. Quint was too clever I feared him – bitten what he could do. She turns round deliberately bditten face the audience as Miss Jessel appears at the other side of the lake. She was hired by their guardian, an uncle living in London with no interest in caring for them himself.

Grose and Flora appear in the porch, dressed for travelling, Flora with doll and little bag. Flora curtseys, Miles bows. The Governess weeps, holding the dead Miles.