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Subject: Speech in Opera: Death in Venice
From: Yukihiro Ishii <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Yukihiro Ishii <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 31 Oct 1998 09:05:52 +0900
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Hi from Japan!
Has anyone seen Death in Venice by the production of the Tokyo Chamber
Opera Theater on the 24th and 25th of this month at the New National
Theater, Tokyo, with Wakasugi's conducting and general management? I
attended it on the second day.

I found it musically rather disappointing, and theatrically a disaster.
The singers did very well; especially the leading tenor, playing the
role of Aschenbach, sang beautifully with great zest.

But the point is the spoken part of the drama. Since Britten and Piper,
the librettist, left a larger part of the novella in the original form,
not avoiding sophisticated concepts and phrases in their libretto, I
can well understand interior monologues prevail in this particular work.
Indeed, it is approaching a spoken drama or rather the traditional
Japanese Noh play with extreme economy and precision of music. So I
wanted to hear the words raw there $B!% (BEach word was pronounced fairly
well although the tenor never succeeded in pronouncing the "th" sound,
but I did not understand as a whole. His diction of sentences was
disturbingly far from natural. I thought I was forced to eat
unnaturally chopped spaghetti, so to speak. This killed my enjoyment of
this work, which I had never seen live before.

Does anything like this happen in your countries often? Or am I too
sensitive to the English language, which is the only foreign language I
can command?


Yukihiro Ishii
[log in to unmask]

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