Death in Venice


Benjamin Britten Death in Venice opera to a libretto by Myfanwy Piper. Directed by Pier Luigi Pizzi in 2008 at Teatro La Fenice using special sets and locations in Venice. Singing stars are Marlin Miller (Gustav von Aschenbach), Scott Hendricks (The Traveller and others), Razek-François Bitar (The Voice of Apollo), Alessandro Riga (Tadzio), Danilo Palmieri (Jaschiu), Sabrina Vianello (The Strawberry Seller / The Newspaper Seller), Liesbeth Devos (The Lace Seller / A Strolling Player), Julie Mellor (The Beggar Woman), Marco Voleri (The Hotel Porter / The Glass Maker), Shi Yijie (A Gondolier / A Strolling Player), William Corrò (The Ship's Steward and others), and Luca Dall'Amico (The Lido Boatman, and others).  Chorus soloists are Carlo Agostini, Antonio Casagrande, Anna Malvasio, Enrico Masiero, Ciro Passilongo, Alessia Pavan, Gabriella Pellos, Francesca Poropat, Andrea Lia Rigotti, Paola Rossi, Elisa Savino, Bo Schunnesson, Claudio Zancopè, and Franco Zanette. Dancers and mimes are Roberto Adriani, Gianmaria Bissacco, Silvia Casadio, Antonio D'Amore, Natalia Danuta, Danilo Fernandez, Fulvio Garlato, Giuseppe Grasso, Alexandra Grillo, Sara Lippi, Mata Mafalda Marcelli, Tiziana Minio, Roberto Moro, Giuseppe Romano, Tomaso Santinon, Francesca Thian, Andrea Tocchio, Davide Tonucci, Carlo Zanetti, Lara Zinelli, and Davide Zongoli. Bruno Bartoletti directs the Orchestra and Chorus of Del Teatro La Fenice (Chorus Master Alfonso Caiani). Sets and costumes by Pier Luigi Pizzi; choreography by Gheorghe Iancu; lighting by Vincenzo Raponi, Video Director was Davide Mancini.This came out first in a Dynamic DVD and is now republished as a world premiere in Blu-ray. Released 2013, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

The artwork on the package suggests that all is drab in this production. But the buzz is different. The critics seem to admire the designs and direction, in which, per Patrick Dillon in the December 2013 Opera News (at page 74), "the action unfolds like an unsettling, mountingly intense fever dream."  I am personally not too interested in the homoerotic obsessions of dying intellectuals. But long ago I read Death in Venice (in German!) and I still remember how impressed I was with the strange and absorbing mindscape Mann creates in print. This title apparently presents an analogous achievement in opera video.