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The Sunday Opera: Britten's "Death in Venice" from the Royal Opera House

Obsession resulting in tragedy is the theme of this week’s Sunday Opera (10/18 3:00 p.m.) with Benjamin Britten’s last opera based on Thomas Mann’s novella “Death in Venice.”  The libretto by Myfanwy Piper focuses on the aging writer Gustov von Aschenbach who travels to Venice, a rare treat, to try to work though his ennui and reconnect with his muse.  Instead, he encounters a beautiful fourteen-year-old Polish boy named Tadzio and begins a downward spiral where he tries to justify his burgeoning feelings as classical inspiration.  This results in his overstaying his time, exposing himself to the raging cholera epidemic.  

In this performance from London’s Royal Opera House features Mark Padmore as Aschenbach and Gerald Finley in a series of roles including a Traveler, an Old Gondolier, the Hotel Barber and Manager, and the Voice of Dionysus.  The remainder of the cast includes Randall Scotting, Rebecca Evans, and Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha.  Richard Farnes conducts the Royal Opera House Chorus and Orchestra.  After the opera, stay tuned with Michael Kownacky for more music by Britten including his Temporal Variations, Simple Symphony, and his suite based on themes from Britten’s opera “Glorianna.”

Michael is program host and host of the WWFM Sunday Opera, Sundays at 3 pm, and co-host of The Dress Circle, Sundays at 7 pm.