"A truly great achievement, devastating and unforgettable."
★★★★★ - The Guardian

A young governess is sent to a remote country house to care for two children. She becomes increasingly disturbed by their behaviour but is under strict instruction never to bother their guardian in London. Are they innocent or wicked, possessed or just high-spirited?

A setting of Henry James’s novella with a libretto by Myfanwy Piper, this is regarded by many as the finest of Britten’s stage works. Described as one of the most dramatically engaging English operas, it has a gripping score full of musical character, suspense and intensity.

Louisa Muller makes her Garsington directing debut and we welcome back Richard Farnes (Falstaff, 2018) to conduct with Sophie Bevan (Don Giovanni, 2012) as the Governess and British tenor Ed Lyon making his Garsington debut as Quint.

Sung in English with English supertitles.

The Prologue introduces the story of a Governess who is entrusted with the care of two children by their guardian and uncle. He gives her strict instructions that she is to take full responsibility for them and not to make any further contact with him.  


Act One  

The Journey  
The Governess travels to Bly, the country house where she is to take up her new position.  

The Welcome  
She is greeted by the housekeeper, Mrs Grose, and the two children, Miles and Flora.  

The Letter  
The Governess receives a letter from Miles’s school, stating that he has been expelled and will not be welcomed back. Convinced that Miles is innocent, she resolves to dismiss the letter and do nothing further about it.  

The Tower  
While walking in the grounds of Bly, the Governess is alarmed when she catches sight of a strange man.  

The Window  
The children play together. As they run off, the Governess again sees the man, staring at her through a window. When she describes him to Mrs Grose, the housekeeper tells her that he is Peter Quint, valet to the children’s guardian, who was killed in a fall the previous winter.  

The Lesson  
Miles has a precocious grasp of Latin but Flora prefers to study History.  

The Lake  
While Flora plays, the Governess sees an apparition and becomes convinced that it is the ghost of the previous governess, Miss Jessel.  

At Night  
The children are discovered out of their beds in the middle of the night.  


Act Two  

Colloquy and Soliloquy  
The Governess is tortured by Quint’s and Miss Jessel’s claims on the children.  

The Bells  
Mrs Grose, the Governess, Miles and Flora are going to church. Miles asks when he will return to school.  

Miss Jessel  
The Governess comes across Miss Jessel in the schoolroom.  

The Bedroom  
The Governess tells Miles that she has written to his guardian.  

Miles is tempted to steal the Governess’s letter before it can be sent.  

The Piano  
Mrs Grose and the Governess are enchanted by Miles’s performance until they realise that Flora has disappeared.  

At the lake, Flora becomes hysterical and accuses the Governess of cruelty.  

Mrs Grose takes Flora away. Left alone with Miles, the Governess challenges Quint for the last time and the boy collapses in her arms. 

Ed Lyon
Sophie Bevan
Adrianna Forbes-Dorant (1, 7, 15 July)
Elen Willmer (4, 13, 19 July)
Leo Jemison
Mrs Grose
Kathleen Wilkinson
Miss Jessel
Katherine Broderick
Richard Farnes
Louisa Muller
Christopher Oram
Lighting Designer
Malcolm Rippeth
Garsington Opera Orchestra
July 2019
Monday 1 July
Thursday 4 July
Sunday 7 July
Saturday 13 July
Monday 15 July
Friday 19 July
Start time: 
Start time 6.35pm | Interval: 90 minutes | Finish time: 10.05pm
Music for the Eyes - Turn of the Screw
10 Minute Insight Talk
Director & Conductor Interview
Unpacking the music