Bronx’s Wave Hill to become ‘haunted’ setting in site-specific opera

Watch Jennifer Check as The Governess in "Turn of the Screw" at Wave Hill this Halloween. (Photos by Milestone Images)

Bronx’s Wave Hill will take on the role of a spooky and mysterious setting for an outdoor opera performance this Halloween.

On Site Opera, a site-specific opera company, is set to perform Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw” Oct. 25-27 by leading audiences around from place to place across the 28-acre estate.

There will be no falling asleep here — the story will take place outside the Wave Hill Mansion and inside its grand hall and parlor all while actors sing and perform.

The opera, with music by Benjamin Britten and libretto by Myfanwy Piper, follows the journey of a governess who arrives at the remote country estate and begins to feel that the ground may be haunted and the children she watches are being targeted by a malevolent spirit.

“It starts on Wave Hill’s scenic overlook that has a sweeping view of the Hudson,” said director Eric Einhorn. “It is nestled against this two-story stone pergola that we meet first few characters; then they invite us on journey to walk to the large Wave Hill house.”

By moving around the space, it “pushes audiences to engage in the piece in a different way,” he added. “A loft in Manhattan limits what we can do but Wave Hill opens up a lot of new possibilities. This allows audiences to engage with the piece in comfortable way because the entire audience experience is curated and considered.” On Site Opera never performs in an actual theater. Instead, the group scouts locations like what is done for films and uses the natural or pre-existing scenery instead of manmade elements.

“There are aspects to an immersive, site-specific performance that you can’t get anywhere else,” Einhorn said. “The opera itself is taking you to a place … an experience that you can go into whether you’re somebody who loves the avant-garde or you’re a Lincoln Center only/veteran opera-goer.”

To help keep the audience in the loop while they’re following the production live, there will be a mobile app they can use that will provide supertitles since there will be no place to project them.

For more information, visit osopera.org.

Shaye Weaver