Aschenbach, Gustav von

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(Britten: Death in Venice). Ten. A novelist who has lost his creative urge and travels to Venice in the hope of renewing it. There he sees a young Polish boy, Tadzio, to whom he is strongly attracted. He meets a variety of strange characters, many of whom make him very uneasy and apprehensive. When a cholera epidemic breaks out in Venice, most people leave, but his love for Tadzio keeps him there, although he is unable to bring himself to speak to the boy. The writer, sitting on the beach watching Tadzio and his friends playing, dies from the disease. Arias: My mind beats on; Ah Serenissima! It is thought that Aschenbach could be based on Britten himself—the fear of a creative block being one aspect of both their characters, and the other obvious one being the attraction of young boys, neither of them apparently doing more than admiring them at a distance. Among tenors who have succeeded in this role are Donald Grobe, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Philip Langridge, Robert Tear, and Ian Bostridge. Created (1973) by Peter Pears.

Subjects: Opera.

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