Premiere, May 06, 2012 / Photo by Basil Childers

Tadzio causes Gustav von Aschenbach to confront a hidden part of himself. Aschenbach is the paragon of solemn dignity and fastidious self discipline, and he has gained an aristocratic title which means everything to him. At first, he fights against his emotions justifying his interest in the boy with purely aesthetic reasoning. Ultimately he soon surrenders to fall deeply and obsessively in love with Tadzio , although the two never have direct contact. Even when cholera infects the city, Aschenbach can not bear to leave Tadzio and stays on in Venice. He becomes progressively daring in his pursuit of the boy, gradually becoming more debased, until he dies of the cholera, degraded, a slave to his passions stripped of his dignity.