Opera Scotland

Turn of the Screw and Byre Opera

Posted 14 Jun 2016

Byre Opera, the opera company of The University of St Andrews, will bring Benjamin Britten's ghostly masterpiece The Turn of the Screw to stages across Scotland as part of a summer tour. For those unfamiliar with the work of Britten, this can be experienced as one of his most powerful and engaging operas. As a series of short scenes unfolds, how do we make sense of what we see and hear? Who do we believe?

The cast includes current students and recent graduates from the University of St Andrews, many of whom are recipients of music scholarships at the University's Music Centre. This opera production is the culmination of a year of musical study by the cast, who have enjoyed coaching from some of the UK's leading opera singers, including tenor John Graham Hall and soprano Marie McLaughlin who have performed with companies such as the Royal Opera and Opéra National de Paris.

Dr Michael Downes, Director of Music at the University of St Andrews, said, "We are concluding our sequence of Benjamin Britten's three chamber operas with The Turn of the Screw. Spine-tingling ghost stories have an enduring appeal and Byre Opera's performance will be a truly chilling tale for a summer's evening.

"The cast of current students and recent graduates give a gripping performance and are testament to the talent and dedication of University students who participate in a wide range of opportunities at the University Music Centre all year round. I'm very pleased to be bringing Byre Opera to new audiences across Scotland during our summer tour."

For many of the cast, Byre Opera is a springboard to further musical pursuits. Caroline Taylor, who plays the lead role of the governess, graduated last year in Modern Languages and has earned a place to study singing at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

Current student Chris Huggon plays the role of the ghost Peter Quint. Alongside his studies of Modern Languages, he is a member of the young artists' scheme Genesis Sixteen.

Art History undergraduate Angharad Rowlands is a member of the prestigious Sir John Eliot Gardiner's Monteverdi Choir, and Classics and English undergraduate Catherine Hooper is in the National Youth Choir of Great Britain.

Tania Holland Williams, a singer, opera director and arts producer who has previously worked with the Royal Opera House, Royal Academy and British Council, will direct The Turn of the Screw. Tania makes a welcome return to St Andrews after directing Byre Opera's successful 2014 production of Britten's Albert Herring.

 Go to our listings for further details here.

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