Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Benjamin Britten, Steuart Bedford, English Chamber Orchestra|
Britten: Death in Venice
Death in Venice was Britten?s last opera and this live recording at the Aldeburgh Festival on June 22, 1973 (the year of its premiere) is an irreplaceable document of one of the greatest 20th-century operas. The title role... more »
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Death in Venice was Britten?s last opera and this live recording at the Aldeburgh Festival on June 22, 1973 (the year of its premiere) is an irreplaceable document of one of the greatest 20th-century operas. The title role was composed expressly for Peter Pears, who sings it here.
Britten Collectors Take Note!
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 04/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"DEATH IN VENICE is, for many of us who are mesmerized by the genius of Benjamin Britten, one of his finest (some would say it IS his finest) operas. Slowly it is gaining in performances throughout the world and with the recent release of the new recording conducted by Richard Hickox with Philip Langridge and Alan Opie and Michael Chance filling the roles created by Peter Pears, John Shirley-Quirk, and James Bowman, the opera is finding a larger audience. And that is all the more reason to purchase this unbelievably inexpensive re-release of the premiere recording of 1973. For a mere $13.95 the fortunate opera audience can own the original in addition to purchasing the newer Hickox recording.
Recorded live in Snape Maltings Hall at the Aldeburgh Festival, this recording is of great importance in that it is untainted by time and criticism. Here is the whole of Thomas Mann's novella made musical with all the minimal stagecraft and musical forces Britten so wisely opted for in this his last opera. Peter Pears may have been past his vocal prime when this recording was made, but Britten took that into account, emphasizing all the fine points (and there were many that were still very much intact) and avoiding the areas of the voice that might have been troublesome. His von Aschenbach is the model of a tortured man longing for the sensual love of the perfection of beauty as embodied by the Polish lad Tadzio (a mute part performed by a dancer). And John Shirley-Quirk fills all the roles of von Aschenbach's nemeses to perfection. The orchestral playing is moody and elegiac, bringing us into the waters around Venice and the Lido and the dank and tepid paths of a city under siege by disease. The performance is outstanding on every level.
Yes, the new recording mentioned above may be superior in the strengths gained by time and thought that allow Hickox to breathe his own life into the drama of the work, and it is well worth the price attached. But for the true lover of Britten's music this re-mastered release is a real bonus. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, April 06