LA Opera Comes To The Getty for a day of Music, Art And Literature

The Turn of the Screw - LA Opera - photo by Mike Hoban

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Join LA Opera Music Director James Conlon and Getty Curators and Educators for Turns of the Screw: Haunting Visions in the Arts, being held  at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, Saturday, March 12, 2011.

Report by Pauline Adamek

Immerse yourself in ghost stories, obsessions and forbidden knowledge in Turns of the Screw: Haunting Visions in the Arts – a day of lectures, guided gallery discussions and a voice and piano recital.

James Conlon of LA Opera, along with Museum staff and guest scholars, presents an exploration of Benjamin Britten’s opera The Turn of the Screw in the context of Henry James’s ghost story and select objects from the Museum’s collection.

In performance from March 12-30 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, James Conlon conducts Britten’s mesmerizing score that brings an unforgettable Henry James classic tale to the opera stage in a compelling production that perfectly captures the work’s supernatural atmosphere. Soprano Patricia Racette makes her role debut as the Governess, determined to protect two small children from menacing spirits. Tenor William Burden and mezzo-soprano Ann Murray makes their Company debuts, respectively as the ghostly Peter Quint and the housekeeper, Mrs. Grose.

This illuminating day-long event at the Getty Center explores the opera in the context of Henry James”™s chilling ghost story with the assistance of select objects from the Museum”™s collection.   It includes presentations by Mitchell Morris, associate professor in the Department of Ethnomusicology at UCLA and Scott Allan, assistant curator of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum, followed by a gallery tour focused on mystical perceptions led by Museum educators Nancy Real, Anna Sapenuk and William Zaluski. The day concludes with a recital featuring LA Opera pianist Nino Sanikidze and Domingo-Thornton Young Artists, soprano Janai Brugger-Orman and mezzo-soprano Tracy Cox.

Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889, James Ensor, 1888. The J. Paul Getty Museum © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York _ SABAM, Brussels

Among the paintings in the Getty”™s permanent collection to be discussed is James Ensor”™s Christ”™s Entry into Brussels in 1889 (1888), which suggests intriguing parallels between Ensor and the obsessed narrator of James”™s novel Turn of the Screw.

Turns of the Screw: Haunting Visions in the Arts

Saturday, March 12, 2011, 10 am – 4 pm

at the Museum Lecture Hall at the Getty Center.

1200 Getty Center Drive in Los Angeles, California, approximately 12 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

See Hours, Directions, Parking for maps and driving directions.

The course fee is $80; $65.00 for LA Opera members and students.

A box lunch is included.

For tickets, visit the official site or call (310) 440-7300.

Program:

9:30-10:00 a.m. Coffee and registration

10:00-10:15 a.m. Welcome, Clare Kunny, manager, Department of Education, the J. Paul Getty Museum; and Stacy C. Brightman, director, Education and Community Programs, LA Opera

Morning Session:

10:15-11:00 a.m. “On Musical Knowledge and Knowledge through Music: Desire, Guilt, and Identity in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw,” Mitchell Morris, associate professor, Department of Musicology, UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

In his adaptation of Henry James’s celebrated novella, Benjamin Britten proved himself to be keenly interested in what may be the book’s central problems: what does one know, and how does one know it; what does one want, and how does one know it. Questions of knowledge and evidence, reality and fantasy, and desire and repulsion collide within the story in an assortment of ambiguous, ambivalent ways””this is one of the keys to the opera. This talk explores ways that Britten and his librettist Myfanwy Piper were able to translate James’s thematic concerns into the medium of opera.

11:00-11:45 a.m. A Conversation with James Conlon, Richard Seaver Music Director of LA Opera

11:45 a.m.-noon Break

Noon-12:30 p.m. “Ensor’s Inward Turn,” Scott Allan, assistant curator, Department of Paintings, the J. Paul Getty Museum

This talk lays out some of the personal circumstances and cultural conditions prompting Belgian painter James Ensor’s radical turn from a naturalist art based on external observation to an intensely subjective, hallucinatory art of apparitions, demons, skeletons, masks, and grotesqueries””a turn that would lead to such visionary masterpieces as Christ’s Entry into Brussels in 1889 from 1888. Suggestive and intriguing parallels emerge between Ensor and the obsessed narrator of James’s Turn of the Screw. From insecure positions of social isolation, both end up wholly involved in their own private, self-important psychodramas, haunted by moral degeneration and death.

12:30-1:30 p.m. Box lunch on Garden Terrrace

Afternoon Session:

1:30-2:30 p.m. Mystical Perceptions in the Visual Arts, gallery tours led by Nancy Real, Anna Sapenuk, William Zaluski, educators, the J. Paul Getty Museum

2:30-4:00 p.m. Introduction by Jennifer Babcock, associate director, Education and Community Programs, LA Opera:

* Dr. Nino Sanikidze, piano

* Ms. Janai Brugger-Orman, soprano

* Ms. Tracy Cox, mezzo-soprano

“Haunting and Haunted: Female Characters in The Turn of the Screw,” presented by LA Opera’s Domingo-Thornton Young Artists.

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