An Audience with Aerialist Antony César

26 April 2024

Antony César has wowed audiences up and down across Wales and England in Welsh National Opera’s astonishing 5-star reviewed new production of Death in Venice - with only two performances remaining on the Spring 2024 Season tour we caught up with the aerialist to find out more about his WNO experience and his hopes for the future.

You perform as Tadzio, a member of the Polish family staying at the same hotel as the opera’s protagonist Gustav von Aschenbach -how have you found working with other circus performers, the guest artists and WNO Chorus on stage?

I mostly do a lot of solo work and it’s really rare for me to collaborate with other performers – if I do work alongside others it’ll be with a circus troupe and I’ll perform a solo act. Death in Venice marks only the second time I’ve done collaborative work, so it’s all still very new for me but I really like it.


Benjamin Britten had countless influences in writing his opera Death in Venice, not least Thomas Mann who wrote the original novella on which it is based: who would you say has influenced you the most in your work?

My father. I’m the fifth generation of my family to be in the circus, and Dad was the only one to leave the group and go solo. I knew his work was fantastic and I wanted to be like my father. I’ve always been motivated because of him.

What art and/or artists have inspired you over the years?

I’m a huge fan of David Bowie and I get a lot of inspiration from his work. I also love the old paintings that are in the Cirque d’Hiver in Paris - there’s a little private museum there that not a lot of people know about where you can discover all about the history of the circus.

Your performance in Death in Venice is hugely demanding, involving gymnastics, straps, hoops and more, both alone and as part of a group. What is the greatest challenge you’ve come up against in your performing career?

It would be using straps because I’m the first artist in my family to do aerial work. My Dad couldn’t teach me the techniques so I had to learn by myself, which a lot of people do. It’s really challenging for circus performers when they’re self-taught, so I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to achieve.

What does the future hold for you?

At the moment, I’m very busy. I dream of continuing to do my own choreographed circus routine, and I also have a mime act that I’m working on. I'd also like to do more traditional circus work and I’d love to put my own stories into those shows.

Don’t miss out on your last chance to see WNO’s 5-star awarded Death in Venicewith limited tickets still available at the Birmingham Hippodrome on 11 May.

Photographs courtesy of Johan Persson