Based on Henry James's chilling ghost story, Benjamin Britten's chamber opera The Turn of the Screw is an intricately organized and tightly wound psychodrama that many believe to have transcended the original. Not only does the opera capture and intensify the story's erotic tension, febrile atmosphere, and sense of unspeakable evil, but the music (an eloquent sequence of short variations on a theme without tonal centers) stirs listeners to terror, pity, and love--to "identification" far beyond that felt by the readers of the tale. Though the ghosts do sing--to the words of Yeats--the central question "Did the governess imagine it all?" is left for the director to resolve. In this Chicago Opera Theater production, the directorial reins are entrusted to Patrick Bakman, who staged the highly acclaimed Susannah of last season. Tonight and Saturday, 8 PM, Sunday, 3 PM, and Wednesday, 7:30 PM, Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport; 663-0048.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Dan Rest.