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Britten: Death in Venice / Hickox, Chance, Langridge

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> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act I Scene 7: First, the race! (Chorus)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act I Scene 7: Try your skill (Chorus)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act I Scene 7: Young discobolus (Chorus)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act I Scene 7: Up and over (Chorus)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act I Scene 7: Measure to fight (Chorus)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act I Scene 7: The boy, Tadzio, shall inspire me (Aschenbach)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II: Orchestral Introduction
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II: So, it has come to this (Aschenbach)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II Scene 8: Guardate, Signore (Hotel Barber)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II Scene 9: Do I detect a scent? (Aschenbach)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II Scene 9: And now I cannot let them out of sight (Aschenbach)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II Scene 9: Kyrie eleison (Chorus)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II Scene 9: Gustav von Aschenbach, what is this path you have taken? (Aschenbach)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II Scene 10: This way for the players, Signori! (Hotel Porter)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II Scene 10: La mia nonna always used to tell me (Leader of the Players)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II Scene 10: Fiorir rose in mezo al giasso (Leader of the Players)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II Scene 10: One moment, if you please (A Young English Clerk) - Scene 11
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II Scene 12: So it is true, true, more fearful than I thought (Aschenbach)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II Scene 12: So - I didn't speak! (Aschenbach)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II Scene 13: Receive the stranger god (Voice of Dionysus)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II Scene 14: Do what you will with me! (Aschenbach)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II Scene 15: Yes! a very wise decision, if I may say so (Hotel Barber)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II Scene 16: Hurrah for the Piazza (Aschenbach)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II Scene 16: Does beauty lead to wisdom, Phaedrus? (Aschenbach)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II Scene 17: The wind still blows from the land (Hotel Manager)
> Death in Venice, Op. 88 - Act II Scene 17: Ah, no! (Aschenbach)

Album Summary

>Britten, Benjamin : Death in Venice, opera, Op. 88
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"...Maybe Richard Hickox is getting bored with praise, but here's some more. This is another major achievement for him, taped last year in Blackheath Concert Halls. Sound is spectacular and real, with well-considered, subtle dramatic production... The score was Britten's most extended instrumental masterpiece since 'The Prince of the Pagodas,' and Hickox relates the oppressive atmosphere to Busoni's 'Faust' (strongly), as well as to Berg, Mahler, and West-Coasters like Lou Harrison..." -Fanfare

BBC Music Magazine
The Pears/Bedford version tends to emphasise the opera's elegiac side... The Chandos... is certainly not lacking in depth. But it also has an incisive clarity matching Richard Hickox's generally more urgent approach to expression and tempo, and the more anguished Aschenbach of Philip Langridge... His riveting intensity is finely supported by Alan Opie's increasingly sinister evocation of the succession of characters who convey Aschenbach to his doom; easily a match for John Shirley-Quirk on the Decca set, as is the new Apollo of Michael Chance for that of James Bowman.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
This recording in Richard Hickox's Britten series is beautifully played and recorded, and in its all-important central role reunites Hickox with Philip Langridge, so compelling in their earlier set of Peter Grimes. Britten tailored the role of Aschenbach so perfectly for Peter Pears's inimitable tenor that it's unlikely any other singer will find it an easy fit. A few years ago Langridge might have been more adept than he is now at handling some of the high-lying lyrical lines, but the compromises in this department are worth making for a singer who's so penetrating in dramatic insight. Hardly a page of the score passes without his vivid delivery opening up some new dimension of the role. As the drama deepens he progressively strips the soul of Aschenbach bare.

His two main colleagues perform to an equally high level. Alan Opie is still in his vocal prime and all seven of his multifarious Dionysiac characters are sharply delineated. The excellent Michael Chance is more ethereal as the Voice of Apollo than James Bowman, and for that reason is preferable by a whisker.

As always, Hickox takes his time over the score, but there's less sense of self-indulgence than in some of his earlier Britten recordings.

He raws playing of high quality and generosity of feeling from the City of London Sinfonia.

Add an exemplary choral contribution from the BBC Singers and a typically atmospheric Chandos recording, and there's no reason to resist.

Penguin Guide
...matches and in many ways even outshines the fine model of the original recording...Langridge proves an inspired interpreter of the role of Ashenbach [sic], more passionate than Pears, and in his death scene he is even more poignant...Add to that Hickox's powerful, finely-timed pacing of a work which is largely meditative, and the result is totally magnetic.



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Works Details

>Britten, Benjamin : Death in Venice, opera, Op. 88
  • Performers: David Roy (Tenor); Christopher Foster (Bass); Michael Chance (Countertenor); Julia Batchelor (Voice); Elizabeth Poole (Soprano); Carolyn Foulkes (Soprano); Eleanor Meynell (Soprano); Andrew Murgatroyd (Tenor); Richard Fallas (Bass); Ildikó Allen; Paul Charrier (Bass); Simon Birchall; Olivia Robinson (Soprano); Edward Price (Baritone); Vernon Kirk (Tenor); Jennifer Adams-Barbaro; Graham Titus (Baritone); Stuart MacIntyre (Voice); Philip Salmon (Tenor); Margaret Feaviour (Soprano); Philip Langridge; John Bowley (Tenor); Ian Kennedy (Tenor); Alison Smart (Soprano); Stephen Charlesworth (Baritone); Alan Opie
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Ensemble: BBC Singers
  • Notes: Blackheath Halls, London, England (07/21/2004-07/24/2004)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1973