THE TURN OF THE SCREW Britten Opera North

It is a curious story I have it written in faded ink A woman's hand... ... governess to two children, long ago Untried, innocent... ... she had gone first to see their guardian in London A young man, bold... ... off-hand and gay... ... the children's only relative The children were in the country with an old housekeeper There had been a governess, but she had gone The boy, of course, was at school But there was the girl, and the holidays, now begun This, then, would be her task But there was one condition: He was so much engaged... ... affairs, travel, friends, visits... ... always something... ... no time at all for the poor little things She was to do everything... ... be responsible for everything... ... not to worry him at all No, not to write... ... but to be silent... ... and do her best She was full of doubts But she was carried away: that he, so gallant and handsome... ... so deep in the busy world, should need her help At last: "I will", she said Nearly there Very soon I shall know I shall know what's in store for me Who will greet me? The children, the children... ... will they be clever? Will they like me? Poor babies, no father, no mother But I shall love them as I love my own... ... all my dear ones left at home So far away, so far away... ... and so different If things go wrong, what shall I do? Who shall I ask with none of my kind to talk to? Only the old housekeeper, how will she welcome me? I must not write to their guardian That is the hardest part of all Whatever happens, it is I, I must decide A strange world, for a stranger's sake Oh, why... Why did I come? No, I've said I will do it, and for him I will There is nothing to fear. What could go wrong? Be brave, be brave, we're nearly there Very soon I shall know Mrs Grose, Mrs Grose! Will she be nice? Mrs Grose! Will she be cross? Why doesn't she hurry? Why isn't she here? Will she like us? Will she like us...? Shall we like her? Quiet, children! Lord, how you do tease! Will she be this, will she be that, a dozen, dozen times I do declare! You'll see... ... soon enough Now quietly, do! Miss Flora, your pinafore Master Miles, your hair Keep still, dearie, or you'll wear me out Now show me how you bow How do you curtsey? Bow! Curtsey! Here she is now You must be Mrs Grose? I'm so happy to see you So happy to be here How do you do, Miss? Welcome to Bly This must be Flora? And Miles? I'm happy, so happy that you've come, Miss - How charming they are - Miss Flora and Master Miles are happy... ... so happy that you're here, too They're good children, yes, they are, they're good, Miss But they're lively, too lively... ... for an ignorant old woman, an ignorant old woman - They wear me out, indeed they do - The house and park are so splendid My poor head isn't bright enough, the things that they think up! - I'm far too old a body for games, Miss - Far grander than I am used to And now they'll do better with a young thing as lively as they are themselves - Master Miles is wonderful at lessons - I shall feel like a princess here! And Miss Flora's sharp, too Yes, they're clever, they're clever They need their own kind... ... they're far too clever for me - Bly, I begin to love you, Bly! - Come along, come along, do! We want to show you the house, we want to show you the park! Don't stay talking here anymore Quiet, children! Lord, how you do tease! In a trice they'll be dragging you all over the park No, they must show me everything! For Bly is now my home Miss! A letter for you Here! A good young lady, I'll be bound And a pretty, a pretty one, too Now all will be well, we were far too long alone Mrs Grose! He's dismissed his school Who? Little Miles Miles! What can it mean, never go back? Never? Never! Oh, but for that he must be bad Him, bad? An injury to his friends Him, an injury? I won't believe it! Tell me, Mrs Grose, have you known Miles to be bad? A boy is no boy to me who's never wild But bad, no! - I cannot think him really bad - Never! Not Master Miles! - Not really bad, not Miles - He can be wild, but not bad Never! Lavender's blue, diddle diddle, lavender's green - See how sweetly he plays - When I am King, diddle, diddle... ... you shall be Queen - And with how gentle a look... - Call up your men... - ... diddle, diddle, set them to work - ... he turns to his sister Some to the plough, diddle, diddle... - ... some to the cart - Yes! The child is an angel! - Some to make hay, diddle, diddle... - It is nonsense... - ... some to cut corn - ... never a word of truth While you and I, diddle, diddle... It is all a wicked lie What shall you do, then? I shall do nothing And what shall you say to him? I shall say nothing Bravo! And I'll stand by you Oh, Miss, may I take the liberty? How beautiful it is Each day it seems more beautiful to me And my darling children enchant me more and more My first foolish fears are all vanished now... ... are all banished now: Those fluttering fears... ... when I could not forget the letter... ... when I heard a far-off cry in the night... ... and once a faint footstep passed my door Only one thing I wish: That I could see him And that he could see how well I do his bidding The birds fly home to these great trees I too am at home Alone, tranquil, serene Oh! 'Tis he! No, no! Who is it? Who? Who? Who can it be? Some servant... No, I know them all Who is it? Who? Who can it be? Some curious stranger? But how could he get in? Who is it? Who? Some fearful madman locked away there? Adventurer? Intruder? Who is it? Who? Who? Who can it be? Who? Who can it be? Who? Tom, Tom, the piper's son... ... stole a pig and away he run Pig was eat and Tom was beat Tom ran howling down the street Now I'll steal the pig! I'll steal the pig! Go on then, go on! Tom, Tom, the piper's son... ... stole a pig and away he run Now chase me! Chase me! I'll catch you! I'll catch you! Pig was eat and Tom was beat Tom ran howling down the street Let's do it again! Let's do it again! Children! Are you ready? Tom, Tom the piper's son... - I'll follow - ... stole a pig... ... and away he run Ah! My dear, you look so white and queer What's happened? - I have been frightened - What was it? What was it? A man looked through the window, a strange man But I saw him before on the tower - No one from the village? - No A gentleman, then? No, indeed no What was he like? His hair was red, close-curling... ... a long, pale face, small eyes His look was... ... sharp, fixed and strange He was tall, clean-shaven, yes, even handsome But a horror! Quint! Peter Quint! Quint! Dear God... ... is there no end to his dreadful ways? Peter Quint? Who is that? Dear God! Dear God! Is there no end? - Tell me, Mrs Grose! - Dear God! Do you know him, then? Dear God! Tell me! Mrs Grose, what has happened here, in this house? Quint, Peter Quint The master's valet... ... left here in charge It was not for me to say, Miss No indeed, I had only to see to the house But I saw things, elsewhere, I did not like When Quint was free with everyone, with little Master Miles Miles? Hours they spent together Miles! Yes, Miss He made free with her, too... ... with lovely Miss Jessel... ... governess to those pets... ... those angels... ... those innocent babes And she a lady, so far above him Dear God, is there no end? But he had ways to twist them round his little finger He liked them pretty, I can tell you, Miss And he had his will morning and night But why did you not tell your master? Write to him? Send for him to come? I dursn't He never liked worries 'Twas not my place. They were not in my charge Quint was too clever I feared him, feared what he could do No, Mr Quint... ... I did not like your ways! And then she went She couldn't stay, not then She went away to die To die? And Quint? - He died, too - Died? Fell on the icy road, struck his head Lay there till morning, dead! Dear God... ... is there no end to his dreadful ways? I know nothing of these things Is this sheltered place the wicked world... ... where things unspoken of can be? Dear God! Only this much I know: Things have been done here that are not good... ... and have left a taste behind them That man, impudent, spoiled, depraved Mrs Grose, I am afraid Not for me, for Miles He came to look for Miles, I'm sure of that - And he will come again - I don't understand But I see it now... ... I must protect the children I must guard their quiet, and their guardian's, too See what I see... ... know what I know... ... that they may see and know nothing Lord, Miss, don't understand a word of what you say... ... but I'll stand by you Lord, Miss, indeed I will Many nouns in -IS, we find, to the masculine are assigned - Amnis, axis, caulis, collis - Colis! Clunis, crinis, fascis, follis - Follis! - Fustis, ignis, orbis, ensis - Ensis! - Panis, piscis, postis, mensis - Mensis! - Torris, unguis and cannalis - Cannalis! - Vectis, vermis and natalis - Natalis! - Sanguis, pulvis, cucumis - Cucumis! - Lapis, casses, manes, glis... And glis and mis and lis and guis and nis and ris and tis Many nouns in -IS, we find, to the masculine are assigned That's good, Miles, you've learned that well! Now say for me... Can't we stop now? Let's do history Boadicea on her chariot. Look at me! Flora! Don't tease, dear We must do Miles's Latin Come now... ... what else do you remember? Now think! Malo, malo... ... malo, I would rather be... Malo, malo in an apple tree Malo, malo... ... malo than a naughty boy... Malo, malo in adversity Why, Miles, what a funny song! Did I teach you that? No, I found it I like it. Do you? Malo, malo... Oh, rivers and seas and lakes! Is this lake in my book? No, dear, it's far too small Small? It's huge! It's a great, wide sea! A sea... Then you must name it Come, Flora, what seas do you know? - Adriatic and Aegean - Yes - Baltic, Bosnian and the Caspian - Good - Black and Red and White and Yellow - And... Medi-mediterranean! - Go on - And... and... and... The Dead Sea And this one? Is the Dead Sea How can a sea be dead? They call it dead because nothing can live in it Then I wouldn't go in it and neither would Miles Go to sleep. Go to sleep... ... my dolly dear Go to sleep! Go to sleep! Sing to her, dear, Dolly must sleep wherever you choose Dolly must sleep wherever I choose Today by the dead salt sea Tomorrow her waxen lids may close on the plains of Muscovy And now, like a queen of the east she lies with a Turk to guard her bed But next, when her short-lived daylight dies... ... she's a shepherdess instead But sleep, dear dolly, sleep... ... and when you're lost in your journeying dream... ... the sea may change to a palace again For nothing shall stay the same That's right, my darling How good you are Go to sleep Flora, come along! We must go now... ... go and find Miles - Hello! Where are you... - There he is! - ... you two? - Go to him! Hello! Miss Jessel! It was Miss Jessel! She returns, too! She too, she too And Flora saw, I know she saw, and said nothing! They're lost! They're lost! Lost! I neither save nor shield them I keep nothing from them Oh, I am useless, useless What can I do? It is far worse than I dreamed They're lost! Lost! Lost! Miles! I'm here, oh I'm here I'm all things strange and bold The riderless horse... ... snorting, stamping, stamping on the hard sea sand The hero highwayman... ... plundering, plundering, plundering the land I am King Midas... ... with gold in his hand Gold, oh yes, gold! I am the smooth world's... ... double face Mercury, Mercury, Mercury's heels... ... feathered with mischief and a god's deceit The brittle blandishment of counterfeit In me, secrets, half-formed desires meet Secrets, oh secrets! I am the hidden life that stirs... ... when the candle is out Upstairs and down... ... the footsteps barely heard The unknown gesture... ... the soft, persistent word The long sighing flight of the night-winged bird - Bird! I'm listening, I'm here - Miles, Miles, Miles! Flora! I'm here, I'm here Their dreams and ours can never be one They will forsake us, forsake us Oh come, come to me, come - What goes on in your head... - Tell me... - ... what questions? - ... what shall I see there? Ask, for I answer all All those we have wept for together... ... beauty forsaken in the beast's demesne The little mermaid weeping on the sill Gerda and Psyche seeking their loves again Pandora... ... with her dreadful box, as well What goes on in your dreams? Keep silent, I know and answer that, too Their knowledge and ours can never be one They will despise us, despise us... ... oh come, come to me, come On the paths, in the woods... ... on the banks, by the walls... ... in the long lush grass or the winter leaves, fallen leaves... ... I wait, I wait, I wait On the paths, in the woods, on the banks, by the walls... ... in the long lush grass or the winter leaves, fallen leaves... ... I wait, I wait, I wait On the paths, in the woods, on the banks, by the walls... ... in the long lush grass or the winter leaves, fallen leaves... - I shall be there - You must not fail - Flora, are you there? - Miles, where are you? Mrs Grose, go to Flora Why? Whatever's going on? Miss Flora out of bed! Miles, what are you doing here? You see... ... I am bad, I am bad... ... aren't I? I am bad, I am bad, aren't I? Why did you call me from my schoolroom dreams? I call? Not I You heard the terrible sound of the wild swan's wings Cruel! Why did you beckon me to your side? I beckon? No, not I Your beating heart to your own passions lied Betrayer! Where were you when in the abyss I fell? Betrayer? Not I I waited for the sound of my own last bell And now, what do you seek? I seek a friend - She's here! - Ha-ha, self-deceiver Quint, Quint, do you forget... ... do you forget, Quint? Quint? Quint? I seek a friend, obedient to follow where I lead... ... slick as a juggler's mate to catch my thought... ... proud, curious, agile... ... he shall feed my mounting power Then to his bright subservience... ... I'll expound the desperate passions of a haunted heart And in that hour... ... "the ceremony of innocence is drowned" I too must have a soul to share my woe Despised, betrayed, unwanted, she must go forever to my joyless spirit bound "The ceremony of innocence is drowned" Day by day the bars we break... ... break the love that laps them round Cheat the careful watching eyes "The ceremony of innocence is drowned" Lost in my labyrinth I see no truth, no truth Only the foggy walls of evil press upon me Lost in my labyrinth I see... ... no truth Oh, innocence, you have corrupted me Which way shall I turn? I know nothing of evil, nothing Yet I fear it, I feel it. Worse, imagine it Lost in my labyrinth, which way shall I turn? Oh, sing unto them a new song Let the congregation praise him Oh, ye works and days... Bless ye the Lord Oh, ye rivers and seas and lakes: bless ye the Lord Oh, amnis, axis, caulis, collis Clunis, crinis, fascis, follis Bless ye the Lord Praise him and magnify him forever Oh Miss, a bright morning to be sure - Oh, ye tombstones and trees: praise him - Yes Bright as the Sunday morning bells... ... how I love the sound - Oh, ye bells and towers: praise him - Yes And the dear children, how sweet they are together Yes Come, Miss, don't worry - It will pass, I'm sure - Oh, ye frosts and fallen trees: praise him They're so happy with you Dragons and snakes, worms and feathered foul - You're so good to them - Rejoice in the Lord We all love you, Miss Oh, Mrs Grose, bless ye the Lord! May she never be confounded! Dear good Mrs Grose... ... they are not playing, they are talking horrors Oh, never! Why are they so charming? Why so unnaturally good? I tell you they are not with us but with the others - With Quint and that woman? - With Quint and that woman - But what could they do? - Do? They could destroy them Miss, you must write to their uncle That his house is poisoned... ... the children mad, or that I am I was charged not to worry him Yes, he does hate worry I shall never write to him! - Come, Miss, don't worry, it'll pass. - Can you not feel them round about you? They're so happy with you - You're so good to them, we all love you so - They are here, there, everywhere - Never you mind, we'll be all right - And the children are with them... - They are not with us - We'll be all right Come, Miss! Come, Miss! It is time we went in Come to church, my dear, it'll do you good Flora! Miles! Come along, dears Do you like the bells? I do! I do! They're not half finished yet No Then we can talk and you can tell me... ... when I'm going back to school? Are you not happy here? I'm growing up, you know. I want my own kind Yes, you're growing up So much I want to do, so much I might do But I trust you, Miles You trust me, my dear... ... but you think and think of us and of the others Does my uncle think what you think? - Praise him and magnify him forever - It was a challenge He knows what I know and dares me to act But who would believe my story? Mrs Grose? No, she's no good She has doubts I am alone I must go away... ... now, while they are at church Away from those false little lovely eyes Away from my fears Away from those horrors Away from this poisoned place Away! Away! She's here! Here, in my own room! Here my tragedy began Here revenge begins Nearer and nearer she comes... ... from the lake, from the stair Ah, here I suffered Here I must find... ... my peace From the stair... ... from the passage Peace did I say? Not peace, but the fierce imparting of my woe From the passage... ... into the very heart of my kingdom I shall come closer, closer... And more often There she sheds her ghastly influence She shall not! I won't bear it! So I shall be waiting, waiting... ... hovering, ready for the child Why are you here? Alas, alas! It is mine, mine, the desk Alas, alas - They are mine, mine, mine, the children - I cannot rest - I will never abandon them. Begone! - I am weary and I cannot rest You horrible, terrible woman! Alas! I cannot go, I can't, I can't But I can no longer support it alone I must write to him... ... write to him now "Sir... ... "dear sir, my dear sir... ... "I have not forgotten your charge of silence, of silence... ... "but there are things that you must know... ... "and I must see you... ... "I must see you and tell you at once "Forgive me, forgive me" That is all Malo, malo, malo than a naughty boy Malo in... I say, what are you waiting for? Why Miles, not yet in bed? Not even undressed? Oh, I've been sitting, sitting and thinking Thinking? Of what were you thinking? Of this queer life... ... the life we've been living What do you mean by that? What life? My dear, you know You're always watching, watching, watching I don't know, Miles, for you've never told me You've told me nothing... ... nothing of what happened before I came I thought till today that you were quite happy I am, I am I'm always thinking, thinking Miles, I've just written to your guardian What a lot you'll have to tell him So will you, Miles Miles, dear little Miles... ... is there nothing you want to tell me? Miles, are you listening? Miles, what happened at school? What happened here? Miles, I am here, I am here - Miles, if you knew how I want to help you... - Miles, I'm waiting - ... how I want you to help me save you - I'm waiting, Miles Oh, what is it? What is it? Why, the candle's out, the candle's out 'Twas I who blew it, who blew it, dear! So, she has written, she has written What has she written? She has told all she knows, all she knows! What does she know? What does she know...? What? It is there on the desk Easy to take Take it, take it! Oh, what a clever boy... ... why, he must have practised very hard I never knew a little boy so good Yes, there is no mistake, he is clever, they both are They've come on wonderfully well with you, Miss My dear, with such children anything is possible I've done it, I've written it! It's ready for the post That's right, Miss. I'm sure that's right Go on, dear, Mrs Grose is enjoying it We're all enjoying it! Oh, what a clever boy I never knew a little boy so good And Miss Flora... ... playing at cat's cradle There's a nimble-fingered little girl Cradles for the cats are string and air Are string and air If we let go there's nothing there There's nothing there But if we're neat and nimble and clever... Nimble and clever ... pussycat's cradle will go on forever Mrs Grose, are you tired? Well, my head do keep nodding, nodding, nodding It's this warm room Shut your eyes, then, and you shall have a cradle - Miles, Miles! - Mrs Grose's cradle! And Master Miles is playing Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep! Miles, Miles! Miles! Miles! Flora! Flora! Mrs Grose, wake up! - She is gone! - What? Who, Miss? Flora's gone, gone out to her Come, we must go and find her! - Lord, Miss! But you'll leave the boy? - I don't mind that now, he's with Quint He's found the most divine little way to keep me quiet while she went Come! Come! Come! Flora! There she is! Fancy running off like that, and such a long way, too... ... without your hat and coat You are a naughty girl! Whatever made you leave us all? And where, my pet, is Miss Jessel? - Flora - She's there! Look, she's there - Look, you little unhappy thing - Flora, do not fail me Look, Mrs Grose, she is there! Indeed, Miss, there's nothing there - Only look, dearest woman... - Nothing shall they know ... don't you see now? She isn't there, little lady! - Nobody is there - But look! I can't see anybody, can't see anything, nobody, nothing Nobody, nothing! I don't know what you mean There's nobody there - You're cruel, horrible, hateful, nasty - We know all things Why did you come here? I don't know what you mean She isn't there - Why, poor Miss Jessel's dead and buried - Take me away I don't like her! We know that, love. It's all a mistake Silence! - Me! - Yes... - ... it's all a mistake - Flora! - And we'll get home as fast as we can - Yes, go! - There, there, dearie - We don't want you. Take me away! - We'll get home as fast as we can - Flora, do not fail me There, there! - Flora - Horrible My friend, you have forsaken me... ... at last, you have forsaken me Flora... ... I have lost you She has taught you how to hate me Am I then horrible? Am I horrible? Horrible? No, no! But I have failed, failed... ... most miserably failed And there is no more innocence in me And now she hates me! Mrs Grose Oh Miss, you were quite right I must take her away... ... such a night as I have spent No, don't ask me, don't ask me What that child has poured out in her dreams Things I never knew, nor hope to know... ... nor dare remember My dear, I thought I had lost you Thought you couldn't believe me, my dear I must take her away Yes, go to their uncle He knows now that all is not well He has had my letter My dear, your letter never went It wasn't where you put it Miles? Miles must have taken it All the same, go And I shall stay and face what I have to face with the boy Oh Miles, I cannot bear to lose you You shall be mine, and I shall save you So, my dear, we are alone Are we alone? Oh, I'm afraid so Do you mind, do you mind being left alone? - Do you? - Dearest Miles... ... I love to be with you What else... ... should I stay for? So, my dear, for me you stay? I stay as your friend Miles, there is nothing I would not do for you, remember? Yes, yes If I'll do something now for you So tell me... ... what it is then you have on your mind Miles I still want you, want you to tell me Now? Yes It would be best... ... you know Beware, beware! What is it, Miles? Do you want to go and play? Awfully! I will tell you everything. I will... No! But not now Miles, did you steal my letter? Did you steal my letter? - Miles, you're mine - Did you? - Beware of her! - Did you ? No! Yes, I took it Why, why did you take it? To see what you said about us Be silent! Miles, dear little Miles... ... who is it you see? Who do you wait for, watch for? Do not betray our secrets Beware! - Beware of her! - I don't know what you mean! Who is it? Who? Say, for my sake - Miles, you are mine - Is he there? Is he there? Is who there, Miles? Say it! Say it! - Don't betray us, Miles - Nobody! Nothing! - Who? Who made you take the letter? - On the paths, in the woods, remember Quint At the window, on the tower, when the candle is out... - ... remember Quint - Who do you wait for... ... watch for? He leads, he watches, he waits - Only say the name... - He waits, he waits ... and he will go forever Peter Quint... ... you devil! - Miles... - Miles... - ... you are saved - ... we have failed - Now all will be well - Now I must go - Farewell - Together we have destroyed him No, what is it? What is it? Miles, speak to me, speak to me Why don't you answer? Miles! Miles! Miles! Don't leave me now Ah, Miles! Malo, malo... ... malo than a naughty boy Malo, malo... ... in adversity What have we done between us? Malo, malo...

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