Opera Scotland

Turn of the Screw 1966Ledlanet Nights

Read more about the opera Turn of the Screw

This staging had a great success to the extent that it put Ledlanet on the map. The old house's Victorian Baronial hallway provided the perfect creepy location for these performances.

Conrad Wilson, usually the Scotsman's critic, reviewing the production in Opera magazine (1967 pps 79-80), wrote "It was a special treat to see Britten's most intimate opera presented in so appropriate a setting; and indeed no other work presented at Ledlanet has been better suited to the facilities of the 115 seat auditorium...the Britten, conducted by Roderick Brydon and produced (like the other pieces) by Ande Anderson , was a triumph in which the limitations of the theatre were turned into virtues.  Admittedly, the outdoor scenes could only be hinted at, by projecting a sketch of the lake or the churchyard on to a white sheet that was briefly lowered from the ceiling at the start of each scene.  But this gave us our bearings adequately enough, and was a small price to pay for the  atmosphere of the rest of the production, in which the stairs and passageways were employed to delightfully imaginative effect.  The ghosts appeared either on a small balcony above the stage, or else had their silhouettes filtered by a blue spotlight on to the wall above the singers and audience.  Our sense of participation was enormous.  When the candle blew out at the height of the drama, or when Miles, seated at the piano, turned his head and smiled eerily at the Governess, we were swept into the atmosphere of evil far more powerfully that in an ordinary theatre."

"Sung and acted (12 October) with extraordinary conviction, with Angela Hickey as the Governess, Judith Pierce as Mrs Grose, Kenneth Bowen and Elizabeth Tippett as the ghosts, and Dean Sheridan (one of Arthur Oldham's Edinburgh choirboys) as Miles, and moulded with deep sensitivity by Roderick Brydon, it was a performance that made one marvel at the rightness and lyrical imagery of Britten's music, at its perfect sense of timing and atmosphere, at the way in which composer and librettist sharpen the mystery and ambiguity of Henry James's story.  Only Flora, played by Ellen Dales, was less than convincing; an adult Flora, no matter how perceptively sung, cannot be more than a partial success at Ledlanet."

Roderick Brydon had just conducted Albert Herring with Scottish Opera, in a landmark production which had opened nearby in Perth. The following season, Judith Pierce would join the Albert Herring team and would be on hand when Brydon launched the Anthony Besch production of Turn of the Screw in 1970.


There was a double  bill equally enterprising - a performance of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, and Mozart's Bastien and Bastienne.

In addition the 1966 Autumn season of Ledlanet Nights included  An Evening with Ian Wallace and John Watt's evening of Scottish Folk Songs.  Bettina Jonic, John Calder's second wife, performed a programme of the Songs of Bertold Brecht with the Edinburgh Ensemble conducted by James Porter. 

Performance DatesTurn of the Screw 1966

Map List

Ledlanet | Kinross-shire

12 Oct, 19.30 13 Oct, 19.30 15 Oct, 19.30 16 Oct, 19.30 19 Oct, 19.30 20 Oct, 19.30 22 Oct, 19.30 23 Oct, 19.30

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