Death in Venice, 2015
Gustav von Aschenbach Paul Nilon
The Traveller William Dazeley
The Voice of Apollo Tom Verney
Hotel Porter Joshua Owen Mills
English Clerk Henry Manning
Conductor Steuart Bedford
Director Paul Curran
Designer Kevin Knight
Garsington Opera Orchestra and Chorus
The writer Gustav von Aschenbach is struggling to find inspiration. He encounters a Traveller and is consumed with a longing for the sun and the south.
On the boat to Venice
Aschenbach is appalled by the behaviour of an Elderly Fop and some youths.
The journey to the Lido
An Old Gondolier insists on taking Aschenbach, despite his objections, to his hotel on the Lido.
The first evening at the hotel
The Hotel Manager shows Aschenbach to his room. As he watches the other guests assemble for dinner, Aschenbach's attention is caught by a young Polish boy, Tadzio, and his family. He muses on the nature of mortal beauty.
On the beach
Reading on the beach, Aschenbach watches Tadzio playing with a group of other boys.
The foiled departure
Walking through Venice, Aschenbach is accosted by beggars and street vendors. Fearing for his health in the sultry weather he decides to leave the city but is obliged to stay, after a confusion with his baggage at the railway station.
The games of Apollo
On the beach, as Aschenbach looks on, the scene transforms to Ancient Greece. Tadzio competes with the other boys in a pentathlon and is victorious. The beauty of the triumphant Tadzio reawakens Aschenbach's artistic muse. When he attempts to congratulate the boy he is unable to speak but recognises the undeniable truth: he loves Tadzio.
The Hotel Barber's shop
The Barber lets slip that there is a mysterious sickness in Venice.
Aschenbach sees public notices warning Venetians to take precautions against infection. In a German newspaper he finds a report informing German citizens that cases of cholera have occured in the city and advising them to return home. He sees the Polish family and follows them around Venice, to a café, into the basilica of St Mark's and eventually back to the hotel.
The Strolling Players
A troupe of Strolling Players entertains the hotel guests. Aschenbach asks their leader about the rumours of illness.
The travel bureau
An English Clerk finally admits the truth: Venice is in the grip of a cholera epidemic. He advises Aschenbach to leave immediately, before a blockade is imposed.
The lady of the pearls
Aschenbach resolves to warn Tadzio's mother but when he sees her, cannot bring himself to speak. He realises that this failure reveals the depths of his obsession with Tadzio.
Sleeping restlessly, Aschenbach dreams of Apollo and Dionysus, the two sides of his personality, representing reason and beauty opposed to chaos and ecstasy. The Dionysiac gains ascendancy.
The empty beach
Aschenbach watches Tadzio and his friends and resolves to abandoon himself to his passion.
The Hotel Barber's shop
On a second visit, Aschenbach submits to the Barber's attempts to make him look younger.
The last visit to Venice
Once again, Aschenbach follows the Polish family around Venice. Tadzio turns and sees him but does not betray him. Exhausted, Aschenbach stops to buy some strawberries but they are musty and over-ripe. He remembers what he once learned about passion and beauty, the relationship between the artist and subject, from Plato's dialogue between the philosopher Socrates and the boy Phaedrus.
The Polish family and all the other guests are preparing to leave the hotel. Aschenbach goes to the beach to watch Tadzio for the last time.