Music: Britten in Venice

Venice's International Festival of Contemporary Music, which used to play host to such startling modern operas as Igor Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress and Dmitry Shostakovich's The Lady Macbeth of Mzensk, last week unveiled a collaboration between two chilly and notably elegant talents: Britain's Composer Benjamin Britten and America's late, great Author Henry James. The work: Britten's opera version of The Turn of the Screw.

Venice's handsome La Fenice theater was festively decked with roses as the full-dress crowd drifted in from gondolas. On hand in person to conduct the world premiere, wearing a...

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