Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Reviews

Evergreen Baby in Colorado

Central City Opera celebrated the 60th anniversary of The Ballad of Baby Doe with a hip, canny, multi-faceted new production.

Lean and Mean Tosca in Colorado

Someone forgot to tell Central City Opera that it would be difficult to fit Puccini’s (usually) architecturally large Tosca on their small stage.

Die Walküre, Baden-Baden

A cast worthy of Bayreuth made for an unforgettable Wagnerian experience at the Sommer Festspiele in Baden-Baden.

Des Moines’ Elusive Manon

Loving attention to the highest quality was everywhere evident in Des Moines Metro Opera’s Manon.

Falstaff in Iowa: A Big Fat Hit

Des Moines Metro Opera had (almost) all the laughs in the right places, and certainly had all the right singers in these meaty roles to make for an enjoyable outing with Verdi’s masterpiece

Die Fledermaus, Opera Holland Park

With the thermometers reaching boiling point, there’s no doubt that summer has finally arrived in London. But, the sun seems to have been shining over the large marquee in Holland Park all summer.

Nice, July 14, and then . . .

J.S. Bach’s cerebral Art of the Fugue in Aix, Verdi’s massive Requiem in Orange, Ibn al-Muqaffa’ ‘s fable of the camel, jackal, wolf and crow, Sophocles’ blind Oedipus Rex and the Bible’s triumphant Psalm No. 150 in Aix.

Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance

The champagne corks popped at the close of this year’s Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance at the Royal Opera House, with Prince Orlofsky’s celebratory toast forming a fitting conclusion to some superb singing.

Prom 2: Boris Godunov, ROH

Bryn Terfel is making a habit of performing Russian patriarchs at the Proms.

Des Moines’ Gluck Sets the Standard

What happens when just everything about an operatic performance goes joyously right?

Des Moines: Jewels in Perfect Settings

Two years ago, the well-established Des Moines Metro Opera experimented with a 2nd Stages program, with performances programmed outside of their home stage at Simpson College.

First Night of the Proms 2016

What to make of the unannounced decision to open this concert with the Marseillaise? I am sure it was well intended, and perhaps should leave it at that.

La Cenerentola, Opera Holland Park

In a fairy-tale, it can sometimes feel as if one is living a dream but on the verge of being awoken to a shock. Such is life in these dark and uncertain days.

Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno in Aix

The tense, three hour knock-down-drag-out seduction of Beauty by Pleasure consumed our souls in this triumphal evening. Forget Time and Disillusion as destructors, they were the very constructors of the beauty and pleasure found in this miniature oratorio.

Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Three parallel universes (before losing count) — the ephemeral Debussy/Maeterlinck masterpiece, the Debussy symphonic tone poem, and the twisted intricacies of a moldy, parochially English country estate.

Siegfried, Opera North

This, alas, was where I had to sign off. A weekend conference on Parsifal (including, on the Saturday, a showing of Hans-Jürgen Syberberg’s Parsifal film) mean that I missed Götterdämmerung, skipping straight to the sequel.

Götterdämmerung, Opera North

The culmination of Opera North’s “Ring for Everyone”, this Götterdämmerung showed the power of the condensed movement so necessary in a staged performance - each gesture of each character was perfectly judged - as well as the visceral power of having Wagner’s huge orchestra on stage as opposed to the pit.

Le nozze di Figaro, Glyndebourne

Michael Grandage's production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, which was new in 2012, returned to Glyndebourne on 3 July 2016 revived by Ian Rutherford.

Cosi fan tutte at the Aix Festival

Said and done the audience roared its enjoyment of the performance, reserving even greater enthusiasm to greet stage director Christophe Honoré with applauding boos and whistles that bespoke enormous pleasure, complicity and befuddlement.

In Parenthesis, Welsh National Opera in London

‘A century after the Somme, who still stands with Britain?’ So read a headline in yesterday’s Evening Standard on the eve of the centenary of the first day of that battle which, 141 days later, would grind to a halt with 1,200,000 British, French, German and Allied soldiers dead or injured.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

Giuseppe Verdi: Otello
11 Nov 2009

Muti conducts Domingo in Verdi's Otello

The December opening of the La Scala season requires a notable production, and in 2001 a gorgeous new production of Verdi's Otello fit the bill.

Giuseppe Verdi: Otello

Otello: Plácido Domingo; Desdemona: Barbara Frittoli; Iago: Leo Nucci; Emilia: Rossana Rinaldi; Cassio: Cesare Catani; Roderigo: Antonello Ceron; Lodovico: Giovanni Battista Parodi; Montano: Cesare Lana; A herald: Ernesto Panariello. Milan Conservatory Children's Chorus. Milan la Scala Children's Chorus (chorus master: Bruno Casoni). Milan la Scala Chorus (chorus mater: Roberto Gabbiani). Milan la Scala Orchestra. Riccardo Muti, conductor. Graham Vick, stage director. Ezio Frigerio, set design. Franca Squarciapino, costume design. Matthew Richardson, lighting. Recorded live from the Teatro alla Scala, Milan, 2001.

ArtHaus Musik 107090 [DVD]

$25.99  Click to buy

Ezio Frigerio, set designer, and Franca Squarciapino, costumes, must have collaborated closely. Frigerio’s mammoth revolving turret/stairwell features the same gold-flake detailing as the ample fabric wrapped around the singers. This island military outpost must be the most lavishly appointed in the Venetian empire. Graham Vick directed a top-rank cast, with Placido Domingo assuming the Moor for the (announced) final time, Leo Nucci’s veteran Iago, and the lovely Barbara Frittoli as Desdemona. The breakdown between conductor Riccardo Muti and the La Scala orchestra lies in the future — here his precise, taut reading is characteristic of the conductor at his best.

Perhaps because this DVD originated with a live broadcast the night of the premiere — although nowhere in the packaging is a recording date given — the performance feels unsettled, even slightly stiff. Each performer does their experienced best in their respective roles, but there is little warmth or sensuality between Domingo and Frittoli, while Nucci plays his Iago so relaxed and nonchalant that he makes Domingo’s Moor seem alternatively dim or hysterical. Lovers of operatic spectacle will surely appreciate the sheer beauty of the staging, but the tension and brutality of Shakespeare’s drama can’t break through the over-stuffed design.

The subtitles offer the usual stilted translation with the occasional blooper — such as “though he see me aimed” for “though he see me armed.” There are no bonus features. The star cast and ornate design will satisfy many an opera lover. Some others will regret the absence of the naked, raw passions that inspired Verdi’s great score.

Chris Mullins

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):