Matthew has created a one off experimental response to Benjamin Brittens Opera ‘Death In Venice’ for the Deutsche Oper Berlin:
DEATH IN VENICE is Benjamin Britten’s compositional legacy. In this adaptation of Thomas Mann’s eponymous novella, the English composer has penned a work comprising an old, wise view of 400 years of operatic history, the score of which is shaped by a serene and stringent reduction to the bare bones of music. Britten’s musical language has found a massive concentration in DEATH IN VENICE, in which every note is necessary, and not one is superfluous. In this score, Venice is the main character as metaphor for a site of longing and escape, although in a sublimated form far removed from a superficial local character.
For Matthew Herbert, this is the starting point for his commentary on DEATH IN VENICE: the material is not made up of the sublimated sounds of the lagoon city, filtered by and with the history of opera. Rather it is the sounds of the city as directly and immediately as they are captured by the microphone. Matthew Herbert goes to Venice to search for sounds, with which he composes his own version of DEATH IN VENICE – and Britten’s masterpiece does not lurk behind trees and barricades, but rather around the next corner of the canal, under a bridge spanning across the brackish, green water of the lagoon.