"Death in Venice" (opera by Britten)
Posted 12 October 2004 - 11:44 AM
I saw on the Teatro Colon website (Buenos Aires - Argentina) that the above opera will be put on the stage soon.
I must confess I have never heard about it and I would like to know your opinion about it (I have already read the plot,but specifically I would like to know how enjoyable it is, or not).
My exposure to a whole evening of opera is rather slight: only Mozart's Don Giovanni, Verdi's Aida and Traviata, Puccini's "Madama Butterfly", Villa Lobos's "Yerma", Bizet's "Carmen", and I would very much like to start to get more acquainted with this art form.
Thanks so much
Posted 13 October 2004 - 03:39 PM
Posted 13 October 2004 - 06:56 PM
Posted 14 October 2004 - 02:13 PM
Posted 16 October 2004 - 05:17 AM
I went to one of those performances and confess I left during the intermission, finding it pretentious and tedious. As my friend & I were crossing the plaza, a couple emerged from NYC Opera and offered us their ticket stubs to see the final act of TOSCA...we went in; Domingo was having one of his earliest conducting gigs and the orchestra was all over the place...third-rate soprano & tenor were belting. But after the dry, creaking vocalism of Pears, it seemed like a revelation.
My friend turned to me and whispered: "THIS is opera!!"
Later I came to appreciate DEATH somewhat though I never went to see it again; to my mind, BILLY BIDD is Britten's masterpiece followed by RAPE OF LUCRETIA and TURN OF THE SCREW. GRIMES can be fascinating with the right tenor (Vickers & Langridge were exceptional) though the character roles are too often played for laughs. MIDSUMMER NIGHT's DREAM has some wonderful music but an over-long third act. OWEN WINGRAVE is much under-valued, in my view.
Posted 16 October 2004 - 11:28 AM
I think, though, that for most of us in England who grew up with Britten as a sort of musical figurehead, it is impossible to disconnect Death in Venice from Britten himself. It was his last opera, and he was very ill when he was writing it. He was, in fact, too ill to go to the premiere. It has a sort of poignant symbolism for us, and that makes it hard to be objective.
I wouldn't like to nominate Britten's "greatest" opera. Peter Grimes is superficially the easiest, because it has most of the Italian opera conventions - big arias, duets, choruses. (I thought Jon Vickers absolutely wrecked it, missing all the subtleties - Britten hated his performance - agree Langridge was good.) Midsummer Night' s Dream is fun, and very beautiful in parts. Billy Budd is profound, and so is Turn of the Screw. Lucretia is emotionally harrowing in the right performance, and has some exceptionally lovely music. The reason I'm so keen on Britten is that one can spend a lifetime pondering the deeper significances - I almost have!
The Tadzio in the first production was Robert Huguenin, from the Royal Ballet School.
Posted 18 October 2004 - 04:12 PM
I’m reminded of the parody of a Britten/Pears recital that Dudley Moore performed in “Beyond the Fringe.” Accompanying himself on the piano, Moore sang what purported to be Britten’s adaptation of “Little Miss Muffet” in an unforgettable strangled wail: “Liiiiiiiitle Miss Muffet/Saaaaaaat on her tuffet/Eating her curds/Eating her curds/Eating her curds and WHEEEEEEEEYYYYY.” It’s a stitch.
Posted 19 October 2004 - 09:29 AM
I know some find Pears's voice hard to take - it's certainly unusual. In my opinion, though, he has never been equalled musically. Quite unique.
Posted 19 October 2004 - 09:43 AM
Posted 28 October 2004 - 06:55 AM
Some preparation is probably in order. If you could start with recordings of Britten's orchestral pieces with voice, say Serenade for Tenor, Horn & trings &/or his War Requiem. You will get a feel for the composer, his temperament, style & soul. Then proceed to a recording of Death in Venice itself. You may have to buy the libretto separately. Follow the recording with libretto in hand.
Then you will be ready to buy your ticket .. I hope.
Posted 28 October 2004 - 02:10 PM
Posted 26 January 2005 - 05:06 PM
Posted 27 January 2005 - 03:38 AM
Posted 27 January 2005 - 09:57 AM
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