OTELLO
Revivals

OTELLO
Giuseppe Verdi
1813 - 1901

Dramma lirico in four acts
Libretto by Arrigo Boito after Othello by William Shakespeare
First performed February 5th 1887, Teatro alla Scala, Milan

Sung in Italian with German surtitles
Duration: c. 2 hrs. 45 min. incl. one interval

About the piece

To be unloved: what greater hurt can be imagined? Jago, Otello’s standard bearer who has been passed over for promotion, now knows ...
To be unloved: what greater hurt can be imagined? Jago, Otello’s standard bearer who has been passed over for promotion, now knows exactly. He also knows all the tricks of intrigue, how to draw suspicion, proves himself an expert in treachery, and the calculation of power. As a virtuoso and archetype in power politics he is also the enzyme which allows jealousy, the »green-eyed monster«, to penetrate the soul of his hated black superior.
   Verdi and his librettist Arrigo Boito make Otello’s adversary almost satanic. Never before in the history of opera had true evil been expressed so blasphemously as in Jago’s great Credo aria: »I believe in a cruel god who has created me in his image.« Otello’s wife Desdemona, the victim in this profound tragedy of jealousy, is the diametric opposite to evil. The eponymous hero stands torn between these two extremes.
   Verdi’s late work Otello, written after a good ten year period of stagnation, brought on not least by Wagner’s synthesis of the arts aesthetic, was an incomparable new beginning. New was the expressive sound representing the storm at the beginning of the opera, new the boundary breaking tutti outbursts in the orchestra, new the taut, never straying music dramaturgical concentration, new the sad, lyrical colours which accompany the deeply moving prayer of the young woman before she is murdered. This opera does not »open« with a normal overture, it crashs in, a storm rages. Otello tries to swim to the surface in the towering waves of his own dreadful story. He is only able to set aside the stigma attached to his dark skin for short amounts of time. Desdemona’s unconditional and obstinate love make her a fighter for forgiveness and goodness. The role will be sung by Leah Crocetto, a young star of the music world. Desdemona’s antithesis is Jago, driven by his belief »in a cruel god«. His credo is one of the most powerful moments in Verdi’s late masterpiece. Clever, and in his malicious way horribly understanding, Jago knows just how to steer Otello back onto the path of trauma and brutality. His tormented mind devours Desdemona as well as the »Moor of Venice«.

Synopsis

Otello returns safely to Cyprus in a raging storm and is welcomed home by all except Jago, who hates Otello because he passed him ...
Otello returns safely to Cyprus in a raging storm and is welcomed home by all except Jago, who hates Otello because he passed him over for promotion in favour of Cassio, and is working on a plan to destroy Otello. He advises Cassio to ask Desdemona, Otello’s wife, to try and persuade Otello to pardon him. Jago sows seeds of jealousy in Otello’s mind, making him suspect that Desdemona of being unfaithful with Cassio. Desdemona’s protestations of innocence are to no avail - he kills her. Horrified by Desdemona’s murder, Emilia reveals the truth. Jago flees. Otello lies against Desdemona’s body. Life, as we know it, has ceased to exist for him. Otello returns safely to Cyprus in a raging storm and is welcomed home by all except Jago, who hates Otello because he passed him over for promotion in favour of Cassio, and is working on a plan to destroy Otello. He advises Cassio to ask Desdemona, Otello’s wife, to try and persuade Otello to pardon him. Jago sows seeds of jealousy in Otello’s mind, making him suspect that Desdemona of being unfaithful with Cassio. Desdemona’s protestations of innocence are to no avail - he kills her. Horrified by Desdemona’s murder, Emilia reveals the truth. Jago flees. Otello lies against Desdemona’s body. Life, as we know it, has ceased to exist for him.


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The opening night will be recorded by the Hessische Rundfunk in co-production with Deutschlandradio Kultur. The Hessische Rundfunk broadcasts the premiere live on hr2-kultur (with a lead-in, beginning at 5.30pm). Deutschlandradio Kultur broadcasts the recording once again on December 10th 2011, beginning at 7.05pm.
Performances

Saturday 23.02.2013

Further performances:
28.02.2013  | 03.03.2013  |
10.03.2013  | 16.03.2013  |
22.03.2013  | 28.03.2013  |
04.07.2013  | 07.07.2013

Cast

Conductor
Riccardo Frizza / Sebastian Weigle
Director
Johannes Erath
Assistant for the Revival
Orest Tichonov
Stage Designer
Dirk Becker
Costume Designer
Silke Willrett
Lighting Designer
Joachim Klein
Dramaturge
Norbert Abels
Chorus and Extra Chorus Master
Matthias Köhler
Children's Chorus Master
Felix Lemke

Otello
Lance Ryan / Frank van Aken
Jago
Marco di Felice
Desdemona
Leah Crocetto / Cristina-Antoaneta Pasaroiu
Emilia
Jenny Carlstedt / Tanja Ariane Baumgartner / Paula Murrihy
Cassio
Beau Gibson
Rodrigo
Simon Bode / Eleazar Rodriguez
Lodovico
Bálint Szabó
Montano
Franz Mayer / Vuyani Mlinde
Herold
Iurii Samoilov * / Kihwan Sim

Chorus and Orchestra of Oper Frankfurt


* Member of the Opera Studio

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