Next week, the Metropolitan Opera will continue its enchanting summer encores with a broadcast of Verdi’s Otello. Okay, so it’s not really Shakespeare In The Park but it’s the next best thing in town.
Completed in 1886, Otello was Verdi’s penultimate opera. Satisfied with the success of his previous work, Aida, Verdi retreated into retirement until his publisher and newly found librettist cajoled him into entertaining the idea of another, grander project. After eventually acquiescing to their pleas, Verdi and his librettist settled on what would be Otello.
Revolving around four central characters (Otello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army; Desdemona, his innocent new wife; Cassio, a trusted ensign and Iago, who probably needs no explaining), Verdi’s opera is a masterful retelling of Shakespeare’s tragedy. Jealousy, betrayal and murder most foul (sorry, wrong play!) abound in Otello, one of Verdi’s most beloved operas.
Reprising one of her earliest and most memorable roles, soprano Renée Fleming captivates as Desdemona. Performing alongside her are Johan Botha in the title role, Michael Fabiano as Cassio and Falk Struckmann as the villainous Iago. Semyon Bychkov conducts.
(Photo courtesy of www.mlive.com.)
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