|Deutsche Oper Berlin|
|Stuart Nunn||Set Designer|
|Richard Croft||Tenor||Gustav von Aschenbach|
|Tai Oney||Mezzo-soprano||Voice of Apollo|
|Berlin Deutsche Opera Chorus|
|Berlin Deutsche Opera Orchestra|
Benjamin Britten’s last opera was also his most personal. The work is extraordinary not simply for the autobiographical threads that are reflected in Thomas Mann’s ageing writer Gustav von Aschenbach; the circumstances surrounding the creation of the work are also inextricably linked to the themes explored. Looking to thwart what he saw as his impending death, Britten took refuge in composition, citing his need to finish the work as a pretext for putting off an urgent heart operation.
Britten expanded the musical theatre form into a panopticon of self-reflection that accumulates traditions and former experiences. The use of male sopranos – here for the role of Apollo – dates back to baroque opera but was a common feature of Britten’s early work, with parts being written for the great British countertenors Alfred Deller and James Bowman. The role of Gustav von Aschenbach was the largest created by Britten for his partner Peter Pears, with Aschenbach always at the heart of the proceedings. His casting of a bass to play Aschenbach’s various opponents, all threatening him with death and destruction, is rooted in the narrative tradition of Jacques Offenbach’s THE TALES OF HOFFMANN.
Following his staging of Verdi’s OTHELLO , Wagner’s TRISTAN AND ISOLDE  and a coproduction of MORNING AND EVENING , this will be Graham Vick’s fourth production at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Donald Runnicles continues his Britten cycle with DEATH IN VENICE, bringing the work back to the Deutsche Oper Berlin after an absence of 40 years. From 1958 onwards Benjamin Britten was an associate member of the Berlin Academy of Arts and from 1972 until his death in 1976 a corresponding member. The German premiere of DEATH IN VENICE took place at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1974.
In English language with German and English surtitles.