‹ Back to What's On Death in Venice

17 Oct - 21 Nov 2013

Benjamin Britten

New production

Gustav von Aschenbach, a novelist in crisis, leaves Munich for Venice in search of fresh inspiration. Aschenbach is captivated by the beauty both of the place and Polish boy Tadzio. Britten’s sensual final opera is tinged with mortality, and an exotic orchestral score conveys the story to great dramatic effect.

This production is supported by a generous gift from Terry and Liz Bramall

Festival of Britten Special, book 3 Britten operas and get one free.

Download our complete opera performance diary for 2013-14 here.

Season supported by:

The Opera North Future Fund

What the critics say

it is dominated by a performance of great integrity from Alan Oke as Aschenbach, which is essential listening

The Guardian - Full Review ›

The lengthy, inward-looking role of the dried-up writer Gustav von Aschenbach, who seeks creative renewal in Venice yet finds instead moral and physical dissolution, is explored with considerable authority and imaginative sympathy by tenor Alan Oke.

The Stage - Full Review ›

The brisk and strangely cheerful gamelan-style music which Britten reserves mainly for the dancers is delivered with great verve by the Opera North orchestra conducted by Richard Farnes

Bachtrack - Full Review ›

Richard Farnes typically draws fine playing from individual sections and soloists, with the percussion section excelling

What's On Stage - Full Review ›



Britten: A Sense of Place


If you’d like to delve even deeper into Opera North’s Festival of Britten, a special edition of Inside Opera in the Howard Assembly Room in Leeds this coming Saturday afternoon (5 October) supplies the perfect opportunity.  Read More

  • Gustav von Aschenbach ALAN OKE
  • Traveller/Elderly Fop/Old Gondolier/Hotel Manager/Hotel Barber/Leader of the Players/Voice of Dionysus PETER SAVIDGE
  • Voice of Apollo CHRISTOPHER AINSLIE (ex 25 October; 14, 21 November)
  • Voice of Apollo JAMES LAING (25 October; 14, 21 November)
  • English Clerk DAMIAN THANTREY
Creative Team
  • Conductor RICHARD FARNES
  • Original Director YOSHI OIDA
  • Revival director ROB KEARLEY
  • Set Designer TOM SCHENK
  • Costume Designer RICHARD HUDSON
  • Original Lighting Designer PAULE CONSTABLE
  • Revival Lighting Designer TONY SIMPSON
  • Choreographer DANIELA KURZ

Click on the venue below to plan your visit.

Leeds Grand Theatre

Find Us

46 New Briggate
Leeds Grand Theatre

Important Information

Box Office: 0844 848 2720 (calls cost 7ppm)

  • To access the Grand Theatre, there are six steps from the street up to the foyer or a wheelchair lift from the Grand Theatre Box Office to the foyer, and then lift access to the rest of the auditorium (excluding the Upper Balcony). Some areas of the auditorium do have steep stairs and may not be suitable for people with limited mobility. Please check with the Box Office. 
  • There are 6 wheelchair spaces: four in the Stalls and two in the Dress Circle.
  • There are accessible toilets at Stalls and Dress Circle levels. 
  • There is an infra-red system in operation for sound amplification. Headsets are available from the Grand Theatre foyer for a £5 refundable deposit. Please ask Box Office staff when booking for advice on the best seats to use this service. 
  • Support dogs are welcome in the auditorium and can be looked after on request. 
  • For refreshments, there are bars at Stalls, Upper Circle and Balcony levels.  

Choose from these fantastic pre-theatre dining options and make your experience complete!

The Alchemist

Opera North ticket holders can enjoy 20% off their food bill at The Alchemist. Located on the second floor of Trinity Shopping Centre, The Alchemist offers a fantastic menu and stunning views of Leeds City Centre. Not available Saturdays. 

Download Menu | Book online 


Manahatta is a recently opened bar and kitchen located on Merrion Street, just a minute's walk from Leeds Grand Theatre. Serving a fantastic New York inspired menu made with fresh local produce, guests will receive 20% off their food bill before 6.15pm with proof of ticket. Booking is required. 

Download Menu | Book online

North Bar

Opera North and Howard Assembly Room ticket holders can enjoy 10% off all drinks at New Briggate's finest craft beer hotspot — North Bar, just a stone's throw from Leeds Grand Theatre. 

Find out more 


Enjoy 15% off all food and drink at authentic Italian wine bar Veeno (Leeds branch only) on presentation of ticket for an Opera North performance. Excludes Fridays and Saturdays after 5.00pm. 

Download Menu | Book a table 

Veritas Ale & Wine Bar

Enjoy a special pre-opera meal at Veritas Ale & Wine Bar. Just a 5-10 minute walk from Leeds Grand Theatre, choose either two courses for £13.95 (£17.50 with a 175ml house wine) or three courses for £15.95 (£19.50 with a 175ml house wine). Available 5.00-6.30pm. Booking is required.

Download Menu | Book via email or call 0113 242 8094 and quote 'pre-opera menu'

Brasserie Blanc

Sample the fabulous pre-theatre menu at Brasserie Blanc and choose from two courses for £11.95 or three courses for £15.45, with a complimentary glass of fizz for Opera North ticket holders. Located just a 10 minute walk from the Leeds Grand Theatre. Available 12.00-6.30pm, Monday-Saturday. 

Download Menu | Book online or call 0113 220 6060

The Reliance

Just a 5 minute walk from Leeds Grand Theatre, The Reliance bar and dining room offers a fantastic pre-theatre menu. Choose from two courses for £14.45 or three courses for £18.90. Available 5.30-6.30pm, Monday-Saturday.

Download Menu


Find Us

IP17 1SP

Salford Quays

Find Us

Pier 8
Salford Quays
M50 3AZ

Important Information

Box office: 0843 208 6000 

There is a passenger drop-off point immediately in front of The Lowry. Secure parking is available in The Lowry Outlet Mall multi-storey car park. There are designated areas for disabled parking on every level. 

The Lowry is accessible by train, tram and bus. http://www.tfgm.com/

From national railway stations, Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria you can travel to The Lowry by Metrolink tram. You can board an Eccles line tram and should alight at Harbour City, or Media City UK for trams which stop there, as this is slightly closer.

More info: http://www.thelowry.com/plan-your-visit/getting-here/


Find Us

100 Grey Street

Important Information

Box office: 08448 112121


Free Parking in all City Council multi-storey carparks after 5pm.

The two closest car parks to Theatre Royal are the Oxford Street multi-storey (just behind the Laing) and the Dean Street multi-storey. Click here for more info.

There are two parking spaces for blue badge holders on Shakespeare Street and three on Hood Street. Most parking meters are free to Blue Badge Holders.


Alight at Monument Metro Station and follow the signs for the Theatre Royal. We are less than one minutes walk from the Metro entrance on Grey Street.

Travel free on the Metro with your theatre ticket (up to two hours before and after the performance) - simply retain your theatre ticket for inspection by Metro Staff.


The Theatre Royal is only ten minutes walk from Newcastle Central Station.


Find Us

Theatre Square

Important Information

Box Office: 0115 989 5555

Find access details for Nottingham Theatre Royal

By Car

Follow signs for the city centre and the 'Royal Zone'. Nearest car parks are Talbot Street car park and Crowne Plaza Hotel car park on Wollaton Street.
For maps and information about on-street parking, off-street car parks, park and ride and the blue badge scheme please visit Parking In Nottingham

By Bus

For bus times call Nottingham City Transport on 0115 950 6070, Traveline on 0871 200 2233 or visit www.travelineeastmidlands.co.uk   Find out about our £1 return bus ticket here.

By Tram

 The 'Royal Centre' tram stop is directly outside the venue and runs every 10 minutes until midnight. There are five Park and Ride sites along the route. Visit www.thetram.net or call 0115 942 7777 for full details of the tram route. Find out about our £1 return tram ticket here.

By Rail

Nottingham Station is a 15 minute walk or a short taxi or tram ride from the venue. Call 0845 748 4950 or www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times and fares. 


Discover exciting pre-theatre dining options for Nottingham Theatre Royal

What you say

Comment from Elsiebird


Elsiebird said ago

Awful, we attended last nights performance in Newcastle and didn't bother going back in for the second half. We felt the music was uninspiring, the set/costumes were drab and unimaginative, and all in all the whole thing was a waste of the £60 per ticket it cost us. I personally felt cheated! We sat just above the orchestra and to be honest they looked just as bored and uninspired as we felt!

Comment from James Drife


James Drife said ago

The music and the staging were wonderful and Alan Oke was stunningly good. The decision to have the 14-year-old boy Tadzio played by Emily Mezieres was exactly right: it conveys the message to today's audience that the opera is about beauty, not paedophilia.

Comment from Helen Seymour


Helen Seymour said ago

It looked ravishing and the sound was marvellous. The dancing added so much - worked really well. Alan Oke was fantastic - a lovely voice, and Peter Savidge was powerfully unsettling, as he needs to be. It's a very uncomfortable story and not an easy or (for me) very likeable opera, but the production did Britten proud. Well done ON - again.

Comment from Edward Royle


Edward Royle said ago

I will not say I found this entertaining -- but that seems not to be the purpose of this serious and thought-provoking piece. But it was enjoyable at a deeper level and provided a moving experience, powerfully performed by soloists, chorus and orchestra, and brilliantly staged. I should have liked more of the libretto on the surtitles screen, though it was a mischievous joke (well-taken) to put the Russian words up in Cyrillic script! Well done.

Comment from Stephen Terry


Stephen Terry said ago

Last night's performance was superb. I was lucky enough to be close to the orchestra and could witness the quality of the orchestral playing (and the conducting) at first hand. What an amazing soundscape Britten constructs. Alan Oke was outstanding - in such a gruelling role - and Peter Savidge was totally convincing. The choreography for the dancers (and their performance) was magical, and I loved the choice of Emily Mezieres for Tadzio. All in all a wonderful evening. Thank you Opera North.

Comment from Delia Forster-Cooper


Delia Forster-Cooper said ago

I found 'Death in Venice' a thought provoking and outstanding production. The singing and playing of what must have been a fiendishly difficult score was superb. The quality and emotional intensity of Alan Oke's performance was intense. The ability of Peter Savidge to take on and be convincing in so many different roles within seconds was outstanding. I found the subject matter uncomfortable but this was outweighed by the sheer brilliance of the total performance.

Comment from Una


Una said ago

Very moving, just wonderful. Well done. Could have done with a few more surtitles, but understand why you tried not to make them a total distraction, as they can be at Opera North, but really needed for those who go to the opera and English is not their first language.

Comment from John Wainwright


John Wainwright said ago

I have always greatly admired Yoshi Ouida as an actor but this is the second production of his that I have seen which I think is a total disaster - the set, the stage movement and especially the ludicrous dance staging.
Alan Oke saved the day and dominated the production more than in any previous performance I have seen (including Pears, Tear and Langridge!).

Comment from Linda Elaine Mitchell


Linda Elaine Mitchell said ago

Daniela Kurz's choreography added so much Italian light (lumière), warmth and youthful gaiety to this essentially somber and reflective, even morbidly narcissistic opera. The sponteneity lost forever to Aschenbach as an artist, glimmers captivatingly, but poignantly out of reach, in the playful dance scenes of the young people on the beach. It was astucious of Yoshi Oida (like Britten himself) to make adequate space in his production for dance and the childhood eden it emblematizes and brings to life in this opera about creative artistic impotence and looming death. My thanks go out to Daniela Kurz, Katharina Bader and the cast of dancers for the splendid quality of their contribution to a deeply moving opera that adopts revealing the beauty of the human body in movement as a key theme.

Most sincerely, Linda Elaine Mitchell

Leave a comment

The Music

Britten's final opera include some of his most striking music: colourful, glittering sounds, playful percussions and references to a wide array of musical idioms and styles from Baroque to Asian gamelan music.    

Production Info

Directed by Japanese director/actor, Yoshi Oida, this co-production with the Bregenz Festival and Opera Lyon  has impressed audiences all over the wold.  Beautifully minimalistic and unaffected in its essence, it uses water, simple props and stage designs, video projection, choreography and lighting effects to transport the audience to the steamy canals of Venice.

Did You Know?

Death in Venice was composed during a time of great physical and psychological stress for Britten: aware that he was in urgent need of major heart surgery, he postponed the operation until he had completed the work

Restaurant Deals


Harvey Nichols: Prix Fixe & Prosecco
Using only seasonal ingredients of the freshest quality from both local and distant sources visit the Fourth Floor Café at Harvey Nichols Leeds and enjoy two courses and a glass of Prosecco for £20 when you dine from our Prix Fixe menu. Diners also have the option to upgrade to three satisfying dishes and a glass of Prosecco for £22.50- an offer not to be missed! Available Tuesday – Friday, between 5.30pm – 10pm. Booking is essential, please call the Fourth Floor Café on 0113 204 8000 or email leeds.reservations@harveynichols.com quoting OPERA NORTH. 

Enjoy 20% off your bill at Sandinista (Cross Belgrave Street - New Briggate) on presentation of your Opera North ticket when placing their food order. To book a table call 0113 305 0372. Food is served till 10pm through the week with final orders at 9pm Friday and Saturday. Only valid on the day of the performance their ticket is for. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer.

Just a short walk from the theatre, another fantastic dining option is The Reliance (76-78 North Street).Treat yourself to the pre-theatre menu served between 5:30 and 6:30pm, Mon - Sat. Enjoy 2 courses for £13.95 or 3 courses for £17.90. Call 0113 2956060 to book a table.

The Food Academy at Flannels have set up a pre-theatre special menu for Opera North audience members. 2 courses for £15.50 or 3 courses for £18.50, the menu can be found here and they ask that people book in advance.

Kendells Bistro - Located in St Peters Square, opposite The Leeds College of Music, Kendells Bistro is a casual Informal place to dine with the main focus on quality of food, wine and service within a French bistro atmosphere. Everything stops for tea 2 Courses £17.95, 3 Courses £19.95, 3 Courses £25.95 includes ½ Bottle house wine. Available: Tuesday – Thursday 5.30 – 8.00 pm, Friday - Saturday 5.30 - 7.00pm


10% discount (on food only) in The Restaurant. This discount only applies when you book a table in advance and mention the discount when you book, you will also need to present your Opera North ticket when placing your food order.