"It is a curious tale. I have it written in faded ink, a woman's hand, governess to two children, long ago....." So begins Benjamin Britten's operatic reimagining of Henry James' ghostly chiller The Turn of the Screw. Oscar Wilde called it "a most wonderful, lurid, poisonous little tale" but how are we supposed to interpret it?

In a remote country house a governess fights to protect two children from menacing spirits. But are these spirits real or imagined? Are they figments of a fevered imagination? Did evil really occur at Bly before the governess's arrival and, if so, what? So many questions, so many or so few answers. Opera North's new staging is the work of a fresh young creative team eager to find its own way to the heart of James' psychological thriller.

Director Alessandro Talevi talks to Edward Seckerson about his approach to this perennially challenging masterpiece. How many dark secrets shall be revealed; how many forever hidden?

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