A troublesome late masterpiece given a brilliantly designed, honest performance. Apart from anything else, look no further than the bit parts: Gerald Finley gets his first Glyndebourne role as the clerk and Chris Ventris is the hotel page - today they're both international stars. There's casting in depth.
At the top of the tree is Robert Tear's really involved interpretation of Aschenbach. Like many fine performers I often have to work to move past their overt idiosyncrasies in order to discover their work (rather like Pears, the role's creator). Tear is no exception. Through his Fach he shows us the pitiful heart of his character depsite the ranting, salivating duplicitousness, blistered with the pseud and his self-inflicted loneliness.
The reason to come back to this performance though is the hilarious but horrible multi-faceted Traveller of Alan Opie. His mocking, gawping usher from Hell itself guides and sneers at Aschenbach's fall. We judge too but cannot bear to be allied with this creature and must recognise the wisps of Aschenbach's moral courage. Michael Chance's gold-domed Apollo is of a part with the tendency towards the surreal just over the rear of the set, the lagoon. Hard work, though rewarding. 7/10
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