Belfast’s leading lady stars in gripping tale of the supernatural

Belfast-born Giselle Allen will star next month in Northern Ireland Opera’s revival of Benjamin Britten’s spine-tingling The Turn of the Screw, opening at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast on March 11.

Giselle is regularly in demand with many major UK and European opera companies, and has performed in leading roles with companies as far away as Canada and Singapore.

No stranger to the Northern Irish stage, Giselle has appeared with Northern Ireland Opera on several occasions, starring in the title roles of the 2011 Irish Times Theatre Award-winning production of Tosca in Derry-Londonderry, and 2015’s scandalous production of Salome at the Grand Opera House. Other appearances include The Flying Dutchman, NI Opera Shorts, and the original production of The Turn of the Screw in 2012.


Giselle is looking forward to performing the role in her hometown with one of her favourite operas. “It is a wonderful story, full of suspense and drama, and Britten’s music is the perfect match”, she said. “I can’t wait to see what audiences in Belfast and Derry make of it”.

Giselle Allen in the 2012 production of The Turn of the Screw

Giselle will reprise her role of Miss Jessel, and will be joined on stage by 12-year old Dunmurry schoolboy Aidan MacLean of Friends’ School Lisburn, who will play the role of Miles. Aidan is Head Chorister at St Polycarp’s Parish Church, Finaghy. An outstanding cast of singers is completed by Yvonne Howard and Lucia Vernon-Long, both of whom will be reprising their roles from the 2012 production, and Katie Bird and Sam Furness who are making their first appearances with the company.

The Turn of the Screw is a haunting and gripping story based on American author Henry James’ much-loved classic ghost story, transformed into a spine-tingling dramatic opera which features some of the finest music Britten ever composed.

After a hugely successful Northern Irish tour in 2012, this production of The Turn of the Screw toured to Buxton Festival and the Kolobov Novaya Theatre in Moscow, garnering praise from critics and the public along the way. Northern Ireland Opera’s Artistic Director Oliver Mears, who will be directing the revival, said he is looking forward to re-exploring one of the company’s most successful productions.

“It is a spell-binding opera”, he said. “Having received such great success on both a local and international level, it made perfect sense to bring this production back to Northern Ireland to give new and returning audiences alike the opportunity to see it for themselves”.

Following two performances in Belfast (March 11 & 12), the last chance to see this production of The Turn of the Screw will be at the Millennium Forum, Derry-Londonderry (March 15).