Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw (1954) and Gilbert and Sullivan’s much-loved HMS Pinafore (1878) form part of the spring 2020 season at Wilton’s Music Hall, the Whitechapel-based venue has announced.
First up is Turn of the Screw by independent company OperaGlass Works. The company, founded by actor and director Selina Cadell and music director Eliza Thompson, debuted at Wilson’s in 2017 with a production of The Rake’s Progress (Stravinsky, 1951).
In March 2020, OperaGlass Works will return to the music hall with its new production of Britten’s spooky opera with a libretto by Myfanwy Piper based on MR James’s story. Set in an old English country house, the housekeeper and two young orphaned children welcome an eager new governess when she arrives from London to look after them and a ghostly tale unfolds. This haunting, ambiguous telling of innocence and corruption is one of the major works of the 20th century.
Wielding the baton will be British conductor John Wilson, leading his handpicked ensemble of 13 exceptional musicians. In the leading role of the governess is Welsh soprano Rhian Lois, while Nigerian-American soprano Francesca Chiejina, a recent graduate of the Jette Parker Young Artists’ Programme at the Royal Opera House, London, sings the part of Miss Jessel, the governess’s mysterious predecessor.
The remaining roles are taken by English tenor Robert Murray as Quint and the Prologue, Welsh soprano Alys Mererid Roberts as eight-year-old Flora and young singer Leo Jemison as 10-year-old Miles.
Following the success of The Pirates of Penzance (Gilbert and Sullivan, 1880) in 2019, Sasha Regan’s All-Male Company takes to the seas again with a revival of HMS Pinafore in April 2020. Set in the hold of a World War II ship, the cast of 16 switch between burly sailors in the working underbelly of the vessel and lady visitors in this playful, innovative and heartfelt production.
The captain’s daughter Josephine is in love with a lower-class sailor, Ralph Rackstraw, who loves her in return. But her father intends her to marry Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty. With infectious tunes and a beautifully constructed libretto, the operetta provides a satirical deconstruction of the age-old conundrum of love between social classes.
The revival is directed by Sasha Regan and produced by Regan De Wynter Williams, a producing house established in 2008.
Wilton’s Music Hall will host a new production of Benjamin Britten’s spooky tale of lost innocence, Turn of the Screw, and an all-male revival of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore (Peter Dazeley).