13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Britten: Death in Venice (Audio CD)
This opera works on two levels musically: the interior world of the novelist Gustav von Aschenbach is represented by a nervy piano accompaniment, the forbidden one of the boy Tadzio by a percussion orchestra. The music is restrained, somehow 'held back' reflecting Aschenbach's predicament at his longing for Tadzio so that when the orchestral climaxes do occur, they are all the more powerful by contrast.
The opera is also a musical depiction of Venice; its alleyways, the churches, the light. Just listen to the scene where Aschenbach opens his hotel window to look at the view. You are there, you can smell the air, hear the bells. It's a wonderfully evocative piece of writing.
A minor gripe: the games scene is overlong, but otherwise the performances are first rate.
One of Britten's greatest operatic achievements.