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19.03.2017, 18:00
Deutsche Oper Berlin
Death in Venice
Opera in two acts
Libretto by Myfanwy Piper, based on Thomas Mann's „Tod in Venedig“
World premiere: 16th June 1973in Aldeburgh
Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin: 19th March 2017
Conductor Donald Runnicles
Stage Director Graham Vick
Set design, Costume design Stuart Nunn
Light design Wolfgang Göbbel
Choreographer Ron Howell
Choir Conductor Raymond Hughes
Dramaturge Curt A. Roesler
Gustav von Aschenbach Paul Nilon
Traveller / Elderly Fop / Old Gondolier / Hotel Manager / Hotel Barber / Leader of the Players / Voice of Dionysus Seth Carico
Apollo Tai Oney
The Polish mother Lena Natus
Tadzio, her son Rauand Taleb
Her two daughters Ebru Dilber
Nurse-governess Anne Römeth
Jaschiu, Tadzio's friend Anthony Mrosek
Tadzio's Friends Alexander Gaida
Venetians Fabian Lichottka
Strawberry Seller Alexandra Hutton
Russian Mother / A Lace Seller Katherine Manley
French Girl / Newspaper Seller Meechot Marrero
Hotel Guests James Kryshak
English Lady Joanna Foote
Danish Lady / Strolling Player Lisa Mostin
French Mother Abigail Levis
German Mother Irene Roberts
Russian Nanny Judit Kutasi
A Beggar Woman Alexandra Ionis
Hotel Porter Andrew Dickinson
First American Robert Watson
A Glass Maker / Hotel Guest Gideon Poppe
Gondolier / Strolling Player Attilio Glaser
Second American / Gondolier / Hotel Guest Matthew Peña
A Polish Father / Young English Clerk in the travel bureau Samuel Dale Johnson
Lido Boatman / Hotel Waiter Dong-Hwan Lee
Ship’s Steward / German Father / Guide in Venice John Carpenter
Russian Father / Priest Alexei Botnarciuc
Gondolier Philipp Jekal

3 hrs / 1 interval

Pre-performance lecture (in German): 45 minutes prior to each performance
Presented by Wall AG, Siegessäule and taz.die tageszeitung

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.