Death in Venice
When you’re staring into the abyss.
Opera in two acts by Benjamin Britten (1913–1976).
Libretto by Myfanwy Piper based on the novella by Thomas Mann.
Sung in English with Swedish surtitles.
Gustav von Aschenbach is a famous German writer of high morals and strict self-discipline. He also suffers from writer’s block. During an anxiety-ridden moment at a cemetery, he decides to travel south in hopes of finding inspiration. While in Venice – the City of Dreams – he becomes fascinated with a young boy called Tadzio, in a way that conflicts with his own grandiose self-image. Fascination turns to lust and obsession, drawing the writer into a ruinous spiral of inward passion. Bit by bit, his self-image falls to pieces while Venice, and finally the writer himself, succumb to cholera. The city reeks with decay while the waters keep rising.
Death in Venice is based on Thomas Mann’s semi-autobiographical novella with the same title. It was Benjamin Britten’s last opera. The music is strict and afflicting, decadent and destructive, thoughtfully recitative and tense with anticipation.
Two soloists and the orchestra will bring the story to life, assisted by the Göteborg Opera Chorus and many supporting roles. Masterful British tenor Paul Nilon, takes on the enormously demanding leading role as von Aschenbach. We’re thrilled to see him take centre stage again, delighted by his past performance as Mozart’s Idomeneo in 2016. Åke Zetterström will portray von Aschenbach’s evil genius in seven distinctive character roles. The non-speaking role of Tadzio will be portrayed by a dancer.