Sunday, March 26, 2017

Seth Carico in Berlin's first "Death in Venice" in 40 years

Seth Carico in Death in Venice at the Deutsche Oper Berlin
Death in Venice has returned to the Deutsche Oper Berlin after an absence of forty years as part of conductor Donald Runnicles cycle of Benjamin Britten operas. Barihunk Seth Carico is featured in multiple roles, including the Traveller, Elderly Fop, Old Gondolier, Hotel Manager, Hotel Barber, Leader of the Players and the Voice of Dionysus. The rest of the principle cast features Paul Nilon as Gustav von Aschenbach, Tai Oney as Apollo and 25-year-old German actor Rauand Taleb in the critical role of Tadzio.

Seth Carico and Rauand Taleb in Death in Venice
Benjamin Britten’s last opera was also his most personal. The work is extraordinary not simply for the autobiographical threads that are reflected in Thomas Mann’s ageing writer Gustav von Aschenbach; the circumstances surrounding the creation of the work are also inextricably linked to the themes explored. Looking to thwart what he saw as his impending death, Britten took refuge in composition, citing his need to finish the work as a pretext for putting off an urgent heart operation.

Britten expanded the musical theater form into a work of self-reflection that accumulates traditions and former experiences. The use of male sopranos – here for the role of Apollo – dates back to baroque opera but was a common feature of Britten’s early work, with parts being written for the great British countertenors Alfred Deller and James Bowman. The role of Gustav von Aschenbach was the largest created by Britten for his partner Peter Pears, with Aschenbach always at the heart of the proceedings. His casting of a bass to play Aschenbach’s various opponents, all threatening him with death and destruction, is rooted in the narrative tradition of Jacques Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann.

Paul Nilon, Seth Carico and Rauand Taleb in Death in Venice
The German premiere of Death in Venice took place at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1974.

There are two remaining performances left on April 23 and 28. On April 6th, you can hear Seth Carico as part of the company's Opera Lounge series. Tickets are available online

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