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Death in Venice [DVD] [2010] [2000]
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 February 2012
This is the finest version the opera I have seen - and I was at its first ever performance many years ago. The cast are exemplary and the production faultless. The sets are exactly what is required and the director, Bruno Bartoletti, brings a truly uncomfortable quality to the artist's obsession with the young boy. Ironically the opera is much more " shocking" now than it ever was at its premiere and musically it must rank as one of Britten's finest works. The image quality is good but I only wish this "definitive version" could have been released on Blu Ray too. There is so much detail one loses on standard definition and this is a truly detailed and nuanced production. Despite this, I cannot recommend it too highly - but be prepared to be very disturbed by this complex and tragic tale.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2010
I was full of high hopes for this production for a variety of reasons. One was the paucity of DVDs of this opera - none of which is all that satisfactory - and the other is that it was from La Fenice, so it had every reason for pulling all the stops out.

And to some degree it filled the bill. Musically it was excellent in all aspects. I had never heard of Marlin Miller but he was superb, apart from looking older after he'd supposedly been made look younger (hardly intended I imagine).

But the production was SO VERY DARK - certainly no impression of southern sun here. I know opera directors simply love darkness with the singers being spotlit but I find it deeply depressing after a time. But one aspect that we missed on the DVD that would have been more effective to members of the audience is that the harpist and pianist who accompanied the many long moralising sections by von Aschenbach were in a well lit box to the left of the stage.

But a central problem to this production is one that has dogged productions right from the opera's very early days - the depiction of Tadzio. He has to be a beautiful adolescent boy - no problem there - but he also has to dance quite extensively in the opera. In this production he wasn't even remotely like a 'boy' but was an extremely well developed muscular young man - clearly a very accomplish ballet dancer. This tipped the whole concept on its head - at least for me it did. There is a middle-ground answer to this Tadzio dilemma as I know from productions I have seen. But this wasn't one of them.

So not money wasted by any means and it is always a joy to see this opera. But there is still space out there for another version.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 2013
This is a fine performance of this opera by Benjamin Britten.

I have neither read the original Thomas Mann novella, nor seen the Visconti film, and do wonder how Britten turns a 70 page novella into a 3 hour opera, but it well worth it. It is well sung and acted and nicely filmed. The sound and visual quality are both very good.

Just one thing puzzles me, and to be fair it is nothing to do with this DVD, but the lead character, on his way to Venice from Munich, laments the journey asking `why did I make this journey by sea?' Even without recourse to an atlas I found myself wanting to ask the question, `how did you make this journey by sea?'
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2013
For me, just one word only can describe it - EXCELLENT! I cannot fault it in any way whatsoever and thoroughly enjoyed every scene and every note - The ballet too was excellent and I cannot praise the whole production too highly.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2014
Bought this to compare it to the film and hear Benjamin Bitten's music. Not what I expected and a little too long. Not bad but could have been better.
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