WELSH National Opera’s sumptuous, arresting take on psychologically intense opera Death in Venice is engrossing.

Composer Benjamin Britten’s last opera was brought to life in this new production at Llandudno’s Venue Cymru.

Director Olivia Fuchs’ vision of this challenging this two-act opera as part of WNO’s spring season, sees it interweave elements of contemporary circus and dance courtesy of NoFit State Circus.

Mark Le Brocq plays writer Gustav von Aschenbach who travels to Venice in a bid to shake-up his sober life.

The principal tenor, on stage for nearly the whole opera is outstanding as the embattled author keen to combat his crippling bout of writer’s block.

Death in Venice. WNO

Death in Venice. WNO

His commanding and moving performance is deserving of plaudits.

It is in the Italian city that Aschenbach falls in love with a young Polish boy.

His infatuation with Tadzio sees him remain in Venice when it is experiencing a cholera epidemic, leading ultimately to his death.

Young aerial artist Antony César is sensational as Tadzio.

His movement and grace while showcasing his acrobatic skills and extreme physical flexibility proved an extraordinary, unexpected highlight.

Roderick Williams was tremendous as The Traveller guiding Aschenbach towards his fate as was Alexander Chance as the countertenor role of the Voice of Apollo.

Despite its often-uncomfortable subject matter the WNO’s version of Death in Venice successfully combines Britten’s uninterrupted thunderous, repetitive, and sometimes jarring soundscape expertly directed by conductor Leo Hussain with an outstanding array of circus skills and acrobatics that incorporates silks and straps to stunning effect.

This makes for a magnificently atmospheric production boasting an otherworldly and nightmarish quality which remains with you long after the curtain comes down.