Exoticism In Britten's Death In Venice

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Exoticism exists on a spectrum, from pure exoticism - the choice to represent or "other" an exotic a non-Western subject, to transcultural composing which is the result of the combination of Western and non-Western styles without any intent to "other" an exotic subject (Lecture). Bizet's Carmen premiered at the Opera Comique in 1875 and was successful because of its violation of the social and operatic norms. The story was considered shocking at the time because it was about Carmen a "rebellious cigarette factory worker who has been arrested" that seduces Don José, a soldier on duty (Frisch 170). Don José becomes so entranced by Carmen he abandons his post to follow Carmen, but in the end Carmen leaves Don Jose for another man and due to his jealousy, Don José kills Carmen (Frisch 170). In Britten's Death in Venice premiered at the Aldenberg festival in England in 1974 and was based off of a Thomas Man Novella. The story revolves around Gustav Von Aschenbach, an older man, who travels to Venice during a cholera outbreak and falls in love with a young polish boy who he calls Tadzio, even though that is not really his name. Aschenbach ignores all of signs that he has …show more content…
They both were reflections of what happened outside of the theater such as political tensions, the struggle for nationhood, difference between social classes, the role of women, and the status of "Others" (Frisch 172). Death in Venice is an ambiguous opera that can be considered transcultural composing or pure exoticism, but I believe it is closers to pure exoticism because it presents the idea of universal human tolerance, an idea that at the time was considered very exotic because certain societies and countries were considered uncivilized or savage because they were different from one's own. This is a theme that has transcended time and is still relevant in today's society and will be for many years to

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