Archive for Benjamin Britten

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


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.


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.

Hollywood Master Chorale presents A Portrait Of Benjamin Britten

HMC group - photo by Brian


Hollywood Master Chorale presents A Portrait Of Benjamin Britten, on Sunday, March 20, at 7 p.m. at First Congregational Church in Los Angeles.

Report by Pauline Adamek

According to Jeffrey Bernstein, Artistic Director of the Hollywood Master Chorale (HMC) British composer Benjamin Britten”™s music “is unsurpassed in the depth and originality of its emotion and in its immediacy for modern audiences.”

So, it is perhaps no coincidence that Britten was born on the feast day of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians and church music.

On Sunday, March 20 at 7 p.m., music lovers will have an opportunity to hear several of Britten”™s greatest works – many inspired by the Christian faith – when the Hollywood Master Chorale presents A Portrait of Benjamin Britten in Shatto Chapel at First Congregational Church in Los Angeles.

“St. Cecilia is often depicted playing the organ,” says Chorale President Lyndia Lowy, “and several of the works we are presenting – Rejoice in the Lamb, Festival Te Deum and Jubilate Deo – are accompanied by organ. The First Congregational Church is famous for its organs and the one in Shatto Chapel, the Hildreth Memorial Organ, is considered one of the finest in Los Angeles. We”™re thrilled to perform in such an ideal space.”

HMC will also perform Choral Dances, an a cappella work from Britten”™s magnificent opera Gloriana.

“Although Britten was very much a product of the twentieth century, he revered the musical and literary traditions of his native England, and his music echoes the glory of English music from the 16th and 17th centuries,” Bernstein explains. “England having a very strong tradition of choral singing, Britten wrote a great deal of choral music – all of it immanently singable and rewarding. This concert showcases some of the greatest gems of Britten’s choral output.”

“Purchase tickets early,” Lowy advises. “The chapel is not as large as spaces in which we”™ve performed in the recent past. I”™m afraid that we”™ll sell out and some of our regular patrons will be unable to hear us. It”™s also a good idea to arrive at the concert early in order to be assured of seating.”

Hollywood Master Chorale

A Portrait Of Benjamin Britten

Sunday, March 20, at 7 p.m.

First Congregational Church in Los Angeles

540 South Commonwealth Avenue; Los Angeles 90020.



Box Office:

purchase tickets here and at the Chorale”™s website.

For more information about the Hollywood Master Chorale, visit their official site or call 323.960.4349


The Hollywood Master Chorale (HMC) currently celebrates its 15th season of outstanding music. Founded in 1995, the Hollywood Master Chorale is a non-profit vocal organization comprised of men and women who share a passion for the art of choral music and a dedication to service in their community. The volunteer Chorale is known for its ability to perform a diverse repertoire, including Baroque, Classical and contemporary music.

A recognized and respected ensemble, the Hollywood Master Chorale offers three major concerts with pre-performance discussions and an intimate Cabaret annually throughout the greater Los Angeles region. In addition, the HMC regularly performs at private, community and civic functions.

Community outreach is one of the cornerstones of the Hollywood Master Chorale. The HMC focuses on three areas of service: the disabled community, youth and arts education and cultural diversity.