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Death in Venice

5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Pier Luigi Pizzi's production looks as good as you'd expect from this Italian master: his designs are handsomely clear, clean-lined and fluid, with black and white and gray and the palest blue creating a subtly surreal effect." --Opera News, December 2013


Product Details

  • Actors: __
  • Directors: Davide Caiani
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Italian, English, Spanish, German, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Dynamic
  • DVD Release Date: January 1, 2011
  • Run Time: 155 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003V4RJWO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,578 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Todd Kay on December 24, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
At one time, it was a lapse in taste worth pointing out when a video lingered unduly on the maestro -- when Clouzot put Herbert von Karajan's shamanistic sculpting all over the Verdi Requiem, even during vocal solos; when Carlos Kleiber's conductorial wizardry was deemed of more immediate interest than the on-stage developments of CARMEN and ROSENKAVALIER; when Riccardo Muti was superimposed on the stage picture of WILLIAM TELL's final movement to loom over the characters like the Great and Terrible Oz. Watching a DVD is not the same as attending a live performance, but surely the point is still for us to be involved in the stage action, not pulled out of it at random by pit cameras. I will never stop finding this a bad idea, but I may be getting inured. In recent months I have seen much too much of Zubin Mehta in an ENTFÜHRUNG, a little too much of Phillippe Jordan in a WERTHER, and now rather too much of Bruno Bartoletti in this 2008 La Fenice DEATH IN VENICE. In the latter case, the focus is not just on Bartoletti but on the Fenice forces; however, the democratic approach is no less distancing. Perhaps this is a matter of taste, but when the composer designated off-stage voices, I want to be looking at the stage while the off-stage voices waft through mysteriously, as would happen in the theater -- I do not want the illusion broken by a shot of the chorus lined up formally in the pit. When I am attempting to get engrossed in the downfall of Aschenbach, and Aschenbach is actually on stage, I don't need an educational tour of the orchestra, including close-ups of specific horns and the xylophone.

That personal annoyance aside, this is a significantly above-average release. Not a performance of transcendent greatness, it nevertheless serves an operatic rarity well.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Robert B. on June 7, 2012
Format: DVD
I cannot agree about the emphasis on the conductor in this production. There are odd shots of both he and the Orchestra and for me that's fine because in the Opera House I like to watch them from time to time as well. The production is generally quite appealing; Pier-Luigi Pizzi always did put on a good show. He still uses the statuary, I see, and I still like it. The era is a bit ambiguous, I prefer the early twentieth century myself. Venice is so old however a few modernish costumes don't really spoil it for me. I thought that the age of the lead Tenor would be problematic, but it isn't. No one will ever be as effective as Peter Pears in this role, not ever. Actually the Palmer production was to have featured him but he suffered a stroke early in filming and never fully recovered. Our Tenor here is actually quite good, even singing the role with an American accent. It doesn't really stand out that much, at least to my American ears. I prefer the British English in these works, but it's a minor point. I don't really care for so many voices not onstage but rather in the pit, but since so much of the story takes place in the Protagonist's mind possibly it isn't so hard to accept.

The main complaint I have about this version is all those awful Italian accents. For many of the characters this is anything but objectionable, but the Chorus sounds non-English speaking, and the performance by that Baritone singing the English travel clerk is simply dreadful.

This production is worthwhile in that it is the only live stage performance on video. The other two may be better in many respects, but this one does have DTS sound and a widescreen format. This is preferable to no audience, and filmed in a studio. I actually have all three, and each has its strengths. If you only want one, decide your priorities and take it from there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G. Miller on January 17, 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I've listened to a recording of this opera and confess it failed to move me. However seeing this performance was a revelation. For me, it captures the mood of Mann's novella - and that is quite a challenge. This is not an easy story to tell. The "action" is inward, the revelations in the mind of the hero. The dream-like quality of this drama and the music act as invitations to enter the soul of the protagonist and what you find there will be measured as much by your own life as his. This video is a keeper, one I shall be watching again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. John W. Rippon VINE VOICE on March 24, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was particularly moved by this disc as it is the product of two great figures from my long years of operatic experience. The conductor Bruno Bartoletti came to the newly formed Lyric Opera of Chicago in the mid-1950s as I also came to the city for graduate school in science. He was Director of Music so for the next 40 some years I saw him conduct many many performances (I served as usher for six years and patron for the rest). Besides the standard repertoire,he was particularly keen for modern works as Wozzeck, Fiery Angel and Jenufa; all breath-taking performances. He was tall, handsome and dark haired. He had flashing eyes and kept a firm control on the orchestra. He passed away not long after this 2008 Death in Venice production ending a most glorious international career.
The other musical maestro in this production is the eminent Pier Luigi Pizzi who is Director, Set & Costume Designer. His sets deployed here are a long way from the Rocco elegant sets of for example the original L'Coronazione di Poppea of many years ago. He has done dozens and dozens of superb works over his long career.
This production of Death in Venice is not a British remake of a Peter Pears influenced offering from the Aldeburgh Festival with tight-lipped English accented singers/actors that have dominated the works of Benjamin Britten for so long. This is an Italian production in a presentation at La Fenice in Venice. The cast is headed by American actors/singers Martin Miller as Gustav von Ashenbach and Scott Hendricks as his nemesis in several guises. And their vocalizations are distinctly American accents. The rest of the cast is Italian (with Italian accent English) along with Italian director, conductor and chorus.
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