26 June 2017 at 1.18pm | 12 Comments
One of the major works of Italian opera, Verdi's great final tragedy is an adaptation of William Shakespeare's play. This new production is directed by Keith Warner and is the Company's first new staging of the opera in 30 years. It stars world-renowned tenor Jonas Kaufmann in the title role, conducted by Music Director Antonio Pappano.
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Otello retells Shakespeare's iconic story of deceit, infidelity and tragedy.
Iago sows the seeds of jealousy in Otello’s mind, fabricating a story of an affair between Iago’s rival Cassio and Otello’s young wife Desdemona. Iago’s trickery cements Otello’s suspicion into mistaken certainty with devastating results.
- Read more: Our Opera Essentials guide to Otello
One of Verdi's late works, Otello saw the composer take influence from from abroad as well as look back to the traditional forms of Italian opera. The results are thrilling: from the violent storm that opens the opera through to Iago’s blood-chilling Credo and Otello’s increasingly desperate duets with Desdemona.
'This is one of the great scores for a conductor', says conductor Antonio Pappano. 'We're thrown right the way into a storm scene – both real and psychological. It has an incredible impact.'
- Read more: What makes Desdemona’s Willow Song and Ave Maria our musical highlight from the opera
- Watch: Antonio Pappano on what makes the score so powerful
Director Keith Warner’s production explores Otello’s gradual mental collapse, as Iago’s machinations cause him to lose all confidence in himself and his wife’s love, and his identity fragments. Boris Kudlíčka’s semi-abstract sets use light and dark colours to mirror the contrasting innocence of Desdemona and evil of Iago. The production also explores the relationships between Moors, Turks and Westerners in Shakespeare’s time, examining Otello’s position as an outsider.
The role of Otello will be played by world-renowned tenor Jonas Kaufmann as he makes his role debut. Maria Agresta, Marco Vratogna, and Frédéric Antoun will play the roles of Desdemona, Iago, and Cassio.
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- Your Reaction: Read audience and press reviews from opening night
Otello runs until 15 July 2017. Tickets are still available.
The production will be relayed live to cinemas around the world on 28 June 2017. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list.
The production is generously supported by Rolex and is given with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, Mrs Susan A. Olde OBE, Alfiya and Timur Kuanyshev, Lord and Lady Laidlaw, Mr and Mrs Baha Bassatne, John G. Turner and Jerry G. Fischer, Ian and Helen Andrews, Mercedes T. Bass, Maggie Copus, Martin and Jane Houston, Mrs Trevor Swete, Beth Madison, John McGinn and Cary Davis, the Otello Production Syndicate, The American Friends of Covent Garden, The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund and an anonymous donor.