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May 30, 2014 6:36 pm

Britten: Death in Venice – review

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This DVD documents Deborah Warner’s ENO staging of Britten’s last opera.

Her fluent, picturesque interpretation implies not so much an old man’s fixation with a beautiful boy as a crisis in creativity, underlining the autobiographical nature of a work that equates Aschenbach’s fading powers with Britten’s.

Filmed a year ago, it features John Graham-Hall as a dignified but increasingly desperate Aschenbach, trapped in a cycle of events he cannot control.

Both he and the inimitable Andrew Shore, in the multiple baritone roles, make up in histrionic veracity what they lack in vocal allure, while Edward Gardner and the orchestra really get under the skin of Britten’s tortured idiom.


Britten

Death in Venice

English National Opera

(Opus Arte)

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