I think The Turn of the Screw was a Saturday broadcast a few years back; I seem to remember listening.
A broadcast from where? Certainly it's not on the Metropolitan Opera Saturday broadcast schedule, as that company has never done the opera and never will -- not with a cast of 6 that almost never sings together and an orchestra of 13. But maybe a local station might have put a recording or broadcast of this opera in the Saturday-afternoon slot during the off-season; that happens a lot.
Jon, I know it's your profession, but I still get amazed at how much you know to watch for, to listen for. Tell me something about you and Britten: Was it love at first sound? For me, he's been one of those composers I had to work my way into.
Yes, pretty much at first sound. Let me try to recall my first encounter with Britten....
I think I was just starting high school. I was interested in opera (without knowing many at all; I was first intrigued, believe it or not, by the stories) and my parents gave me a book of "stories of operas" for Christmas one year, the old Modern LIbrary volume. I saw The Turn of the Screw
in there, and that piqued my interest because I had read the novella -- maybe for a class. So one time visiting the local library I saw that they had a recording of it, and I checked it out and listened to it, and I was immediately hooked. I found the music atmospheric and compelling, and I was hooked by the way it enhanced the story and suggested the mystery behind it.
In general, the first operas I liked (I tried recordings of several over a period of months around that time) were "non-aria" operas, the ones that got on with it and told the story without fuss. My first three loves, in fact, were Das Rheingold
, La Bohème
, and The Turn of the Screw
, which all fit that description. Verdi and Mozart were much harder for me at first because of all the recitative and stopping for numbers that didn't try to advance the plot quickly (or, sometimes in Mozart, didn't try to be tuneful). I needed to see those in the theater to get the idea -- that happened when I got to Indiana U, which did 6 operas a year.