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Subject: Re: Death in Venice
From: Genevieve Castle Room <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Genevieve Castle Room <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 20 Nov 2017 22:45:04 -0500
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Max wrote:


>"Death in Venice" is a profound and moving work, the late fruits of one of
the great composers of the 20th century"


No, I think its reputation is basically resting on the fame of its literary
model.

It just flat out baffles me to see your dismissal of both 'TheRake's
Progress' and 'Pelleas' as "tedious" and "boring" while claiming tohold in
high regard this decidedly second-rate opera.


Consider the comments of Ronald Duncan and Mark Berry:


*>1) Death in Venice erred by having to much recitative within a limited
range amounting to a vocal monotony.... *The tedious sung speech in this
work should not be compared to the interesting recitative approach of other
composers.


>2) In certain quarters, it is heresy to question Britten’s standing; for
those with a greater sense of discrimination, it is patently obvious that
his output is highly variable. The ridiculous insistence from ‘true
believers’ that every Britten work is a masterpiece does nothing to help
the cause of a decent yet wildly overrated composer. *Death in Venice* is
not without tedium; an idea, at least as converted into this opera, which
might have been better suited to a short one-act work, is drawn out far too
long, seeming to take about as long as it would to read Thomas Mann’s
novella. And if Britten’s display of his workings helps impart unity, that
display, whether in terms of sonorities  --  the all too ready resort to
gamelan echoes  --  or twelve-note process often sounds too obvious. It is
difficult not to conclude that this opera would have benefited from
wholesale revision, perhaps from a good editor.





-------------------------

On Saturday, November 18, 2017, Max D. Winter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> "This opera [Britten's "Death in Venice"] is one of the thinnest, most
> superficial I've ever
> experienced, both in the theatre and through listening to recordings."
>
> On the contrary, "Death in Venice" is a profound and moving work, the late
> fruits of one of the
> great composers of the 20th century.
>
> I attended the Metropolitan Opera premiere of "Death in Venice" in October
> 1974 (with Peter
> Pears as Aschenbach and John Shirley-Quirk as the Seven Nemeses).  I can't
> say that I liked
> it much then, but I was nevertheless very impressed by the opera, and the
> music and staging
> remain vividly in my memory.   With greater experience and maturity in the
> years since then,
> I have come to appreciate "Death in Venice" for the masterpiece that it is.
>
> MDW
>
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