Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Boston Lyric Opera steps out - and sells out

A scene from The Turn of the Screw.

Opera lovers take note - word is that Boston Lyric Opera's production of Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw is on the verge of selling out. Before it has even opened (that happens tomorrow).

And no wonder, given it's a kind of perfect storm of "firsts" for Boston's leading opera company. The production is, for instance, the first under the auspices of the company's "Opera Annex" initiative, Artistic Director Esther Nelson's brainchild for pulling opera out from behind the red curtain and into the community. The initiative aims to "create productions reflecting the unique characteristics of particular performance spaces," and what better spot in Boston to stage the high gothic spookiness of Henry James's most famous tale than the Park Plaza "Castle" (at left)?

Another "first" for BLO is the interpolation of live video (above); Quint and Miss Jessel will get to haunt this production from even the basement of the Castle. And the production boasts yet another first - it features the North American debut of Rebecca Nash, an Australian soprano who has been building an international reputation. And Nash is not alone in being unknown to Boston audiences - the entire design team is also making its Boston Lyric Opera debut.

You can still join BLO for what promises to be a remarkably fresh evening of opera - single tickets still remain, and are available here.


  1. I usually go to most BLO's performances, but I'm sitting out on this one. I have concerns regarding how the acoustics will be like at the Castle, with all the stones and such.

    It's selling out because the venue is small; 500 seats I believe that's what I read.

    FWIW, while BLO is claiming that ticket prices are cheaper for Opera Annex, that is only true for the most expensive category. Where as at Shubert, I have the option of paying $54 for the 2nd cheapest category, at the Castle, it's $75 for the middle price.

    I'm interested to see the reviews.

  2. Ok, reservations noted. I too will be interested to hear how the space works acoustically, but sometimes resonant spaces support the human voice remarkably well. As for ticket prices, I think you're only telling part of the story. The top price for Turn - $85 - is indeed quite inexpensive for live opera, and there are tickets available for as low as $39 (and given the intimacy of the performance venue that you've noted, this could be QUITE a bargain).

  3. I saw the seating plan @ the Castle, and I wonder if the seats are set on an incline? If not, I'm not sure if one can see anything from the $39-seats in the last 3 rows.

    At least I know I can see the stage (albeit far), even from the cheapest seat category.

    In any case, Jeremy Eichler gave a positive review in the Globe today. Perhaps I'll give the Opera Annex a try next season, depending on what BLO plans to stage there...

  4. Yes, the seats are on risers, Yuen. You can see images of the seating arrangements at: http://www.blo.org/press_photos_turn.html.

    And you know Jeremy Eichler can't be wrong!