The ultimate gay opera – in the heart of Moscow

The ultimate gay opera – in the heart of Moscow


norman lebrecht

December 09, 2013

Gennady Rozhdestvensky takes a bow with cast after last night’s performance of Death in Venice at the Moscow Conservatory.

Britten’s opera, after Thomas Mann’s novella, describes the raging desire of an aging writer for a young Polish boy. Rozhdestvensky described the performance as ‘one of the most important concerts of my career’. You may read into that remark whatever you wish. Cast included Ian Bostridge, Peter Coleman-Wright, Iestyn Davies and students of the Conservatory.

rozhdestvensky death in venice

photo: Richard Jarman


  • Rozhdestvensky continuing to be one of the most astonishingly curious and agile musical interpreters. He amazes me so. I do wish some enterprising orchestra would engage him here in America.

  • David Boxwell says:

    On the other hand (from a certain point of view), it’s the ultimate gay miserabilist opera, so it’s Putin-approved: old man lusts after male youth, is either ignored or ridiculed, and dies.

  • MWnyc says:

    Death in Venice the ultimate gay opera? I don’t think so.

    Try, for instance, Lou Harrison’s Young Caesar. (Granted, not on the same artistic level, but still.) Heck, The Loves of Wayne Gretzky is gayer than Death in Venice

  • MacroV says:

    I don’t know Rozhdestvensky’s politics – though he’s about 80 and survived many regimes – but from the several times I saw him conduct in Moscow I can say he’s a remarkable conductor, someone I never passed up a chance to see in action. And far more adventurous than one might infer from the programs he often guest-conducts in the west.