CULTURE

Britten’s ‘Turn of the Screw’ opens tonight at the Athens Concert Hall

When a young governess arrives at a country house to take care of two children, her troubles are about to begin, as the siblings are possessed by evil. This celebrated story by Henry James inspired Benjamin Britten to transform the novella into an opera. «The Turn of the Screw» opens tonight at the Athens Concert Hall as part of the «Opera at the Megaron Series.» Performances are also on Friday, Sunday and January 28, 29 and 31. The entire opera was written in 1954, with the work’s libretto composed by Myfanwy Piper. At the Athens Concert Hall, the ensemble of the Orchestra of Colors will be conducted by Nikos Tsouchlos, with stage direction by Thomas Moschopoulos, set design by Antonis Daglidis and costumes by Clare Bracewell. The role of the governess is interpreted by soprano Maroussa Xyni; tenor Gregory Kunde takes on the role of Peter Quint, Irini Karayianni is Mrs Jessel, and Julia Souglakou interprets Mrs Grose. Born in Lowestoft, England in 1913, Britten entered the Royal College of Music in 1930 and five years later began working for the GPO Film unit, where one of his colleagues was the poet W.H. Auden. It was there that the poet’s social critique came together with the composer’s satirical and virtuoso musical style, such as in the orchestra song cycle «Our Hunting Fathers» (1936). Early on in his career, Britten developed his own voice, though composers such as Stravinsky and Mahler were influences. In 1939, Britten traveled to the United States, where he wrote his first opera, «Paul Bunyan.» He returned to England in 1942 and started working on music for English verse, while also developing his operatic works. One of the Britten’s greatest came in 1945, as «Peter Grimes» signaled a new beginning for British opera. Other works followed, including «The Rape of Lucretia» (1946), «Albert Herring» (1947), and «A Midsummer Night’s Dream» (1960). Meanwhile, in 1948, this leading 20th-century composer founded the Aldeburgh Festival in Suffolk, with his lifetime companion Peter Pears. Benjamin Britten’s «Turn of the Screw,» at the Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali & Vas. Sofias, tel 010.728.2000. Lehman Brothers said yesterday it had upgraded the National Bank of Greece to «buy» from «market perform,» lowering its price target to 28.3 euros from 30.6, following failed merger plans with Alpha Bank. »We believe that the collapse of the merger process leaves Alpha Bank at somewhat of a strategic impasse, with a comparatively weak retail market position,» Lehman analyst Joanna Nader said. The bank repeated a «market performer» rating for Alpha Bank and raised the price target to 19.2 euros from 19. (Reuters)