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. After a ten year period of stagnation Verdi exploded onto the scene again with his Otello, a new beginning, an exciting start to the last phase of his composing career. New were expressive pictures of sound, the opening, thundering, storm scene. New were the violently errupting tutti outbursts from the orchestra. Otello, the governor of Venice is greeted with jubilation on Cyprus after his return from a victorious battle at sea. But Jago, his standard bearer, hates the Moor because of Cassio's promotion over him. His evil plan destroys his rival's integrity and fans the flames of Otello's jealousy by insinuating that his wife Desdemona has taken Cassio as her lover. The tragedy runs its course, culminating in Otello killing Desdemona and then taking his own life. Verdi and his brilliant librettist Arrigo Boito made Jago's character almost satanic. Never before in the history of opera had evil acquired such blasphemic expression as in Jago's aria: »I believe in a cruel God, who has created me in his likeness.« Otello's wife Desdemona, the victim in the tragedy, is the diametrical opposite to this evil. The central character stands torn between these two extremes.

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.
Performances

Saturday 08.11.2014

Further performances:
15.11.2014  | 20.11.2014  |
23.11.2014  | 05.12.2014  |
13.12.2014  | 19.12.2014

Cast

Conductor
Pier Giorgio Morandi
Directror
Johannes Erath
Revival rehearsed by
Caterina Panti Liberovici
Stage Designer
Dirk Becker
Costume Designer
Silke Willrett
Lighting Designer
Joachim Klein
Dramaturge
Norbert Abels
Chorus Master
Tilman Michael
Children's Chorus Master
Markus Ehmann

Otello
Vincent Wolfsteiner / Carlo Ventre
Jago
Dimitri Platanias
Desdemona
Elza van den Heever
Emilia
Jenny Carlstedt / Paula Murrihy
Cassio
Mario Chang / Beau Gibson
Rodrigo
Michael Porter *
Lodovico
Andreas Bauer / Magnús Baldvinsson
Montano
Franz Mayer
Herald
Iurii Samoilov

Oper Frankfurt's Orchestra, Chorus and Extra Chorus


* Member of the Opera Studio

 
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