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Arts / Entertainment

CSU to perform opera The Turn of the Screw

March 22, 2012

CSU's newly named The Charles and Reta Ralph Opera Center will present four performances of Benjamin Britten's "The Turn of the Screw."

CSU will present four performances of The Turn of the Screw.The opera center, working with CSU’s Opera Orchestra, will perform the opera March 23, 30 and 31 at 7:30 p.m., and a matinee on Sunday, March 25, at 2 p.m. in the Griffin Concert Hall at the University Center of the Arts. Performances on the opening and closing dates are followed by a “Meet the Artist” reception.

Tickets are $20 for the public, $10 for CSU students, and $1 for youth under 17. Tickets are available at the UCA Ticket Office in the UCA Griffin Lobby, by phone at (970) 491-2787 or online.

Complex English opera

The Turn of the Screw, considered the finest of Britten’s operatic works, has proven a welcome challenge for stage director Tiffany Blake and the students performing the chamber opera.

“Given the musical complexity of the piece, it will help the students grow as musicians while the ambiguity of the opera will push their acting abilities,” said Blake.

At the time of its premier in 1954 in Venice, The Turn of the Screw was described as one of the most dramatically appealing English operas. Britten’s hallmark mixture of tonality and dissonance is forefront throughout the work — most noticeable in the 12-note theme that precedes each of the 16 scenes in the two-act opera.

Based on Henry James novella

Originally a novella written by Henry James, The Turn of the Screw is a story involving an unsuspecting governess and the two children in her care, Miles and Flora. The Governess is hired under unusual circumstances; the father of the children demands that she does not contact him or question the history of the household. After a series of run-ins with ghosts, the father, and a peculiar housemaid, the audience is left questioning the governess and the children.

The opera’s central figure is the governess, played by graduate students Alexandra Diessner and Kimberli Render.

Also, an integral part of the production is the collaboration with the CSU Theatre program—essential to making the director’s vision a reality—from scenic design, costuming, lighting, sound and digital media.

About the Charles and Reta Ralph Opera Center

The Charles and Reta Ralph Opera Center, housed at the state-of-the-art University Center for the Arts, is named in honor of Charles and Reta Ralph in recognition of their generous and continuing support of opera at CSU. The Ralphs' benevolence provides programmatic support and professional development opportunities, as well as a broad scholarship support system for students studying vocal performance.

The Ralph Opera Center performs two fully staged productions with orchestra each semester, as well as multiple opera scenes programs, spanning the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern eras.

Contact: Jennifer Clary