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Tod in Venedig©Marcus Lieberenz

Britten Death in Venice

From 22 November TO 05 December 2019
Deutsche Oper - Berlin
Program

Britten : Death in Venice

3 h with 1 interval
Cast
  • Conductor
    Markus Stenz
  • Director
    Graham Vick
  • Performers
    Gustav von Aschenbach: Ian Bostridge
    Traveller: Seth Carico
    Apollo’s Voice: Tai Oney
Details on the Performance

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 [1991], Wagner’s TRISTAN AND ISOLDE [2011] and a coproduction of MORNING AND EVENING [2016], 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.

Source © Deutsche Oper Berlin

  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis

Deutsche Oper - Berlin Location Bismarckstrasse 35 - 10627 Berlin Allemagne

  • Venue's Capacity: 1859

The Venue's History in few words …

Contrary to the Staatsoper Unter den Linden which was founded in the eighteenth century in the centre of town and for a long time considered the Royal Opera, the history of the Berlin Opera began in 1912, in the Charlottenburg neighborhood situated outside the city limits, and intitiated by the rich bourgeoisie. But the inevitable occured, following the economic crisis of World War I, and the Charlottenburg Opera was ultimately purchased by the City of Berlin.

 

Bruno Walter greatly improved the musical qualities of this institution which was rebaptized the Städtische Oper (City Opera). Prior to that, Carl Ebert, as administrator (with Rudolf Bing, the future legendary director of the MET in New York, as assistant), promoted more modern music, including those operas by Kurt Weill or Schreker which Klemperer could no longer perform at the then-closed Kr oll-Oper, and which provoked the ire of the Nazis as early as 1933. In 1945, the building was left in ruins, but by the month of August 45, the company presented FIDELIO at the « Theater des Westerns » and animated that theatre until 1961. During this period, the conductor Ferenc Fricsay, named music director, enabled the Städtische Oper to regain its international ranking, alternating standard repertoire in top-quality productions (where voices such as Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau or Josef Greindl were discovered), works by Stravinsky and Hindemith (who were banned by the Nazis), and world premieres. But in 1955, the Opera Unter den Linden, situated in East Germany, reopened under the name of the Deutsche Staatsoper. Under the influence of this politico-artistic competition, three decisions were made : the Städtische Oper was rebaptized the Deutsche Oper Berlin, plans were made to construct a theatre at the Charlottenburg site (situated in West Berlin), and Carl Ebert who, in the mean­time founded the Glyndebourne Festival, was called back. His productions and season programmes turned West Berlin into one of contemporary opera's main capitals.

Deutsche Oper

Synopsis

Death in Venice

Deutsche Oper

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