Live Cinema Season

Otello

Live | Opera

Running time: About 2 hours 45 minutes, including one interval

Otello

Jonas Kaufmann makes his role debut as Otello in Keith Warner’s new production of Verdi’s thrilling Shakespeare-inspired opera, conducted by Antonio Pappano.

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The story

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.

Otello murders the innocent Desdemona. Confessions by Iago’s accomplices – including his unknowing wife Emilia – lead to the revelation of Iago’s plot. Appalled by the wrong he has committed, Otello kills himself.

Background

Otello is Verdi’s final tragedy. After astonishing productivity in his early career, the composer slowed in later life; more than fifteen years separate Otello and its predecessor, Aida, although Verdi revised his earlier works Simon Boccanegra and Don Carlo in the interim. He was lured out of retirement by the composer and librettist Arrigo Boito, who tempted him with a proposal that was very close to Verdi’s heart: Shakespeare’s Othello. Boito adapted the libretto from Shakespeare’s play, with much intervention from Verdi. As the latest utterance from the master of Italian opera, the 1887 premiere was an instant success – but, more than that, Otello has been an important part of the international opera repertory ever since.

The Italian musical landscape had changed during Verdi’s period of isolation, with many of his compatriots finding inspiration in foreign operatic innovations. Verdi responds in Otello with music that looks back to the traditional forms and structures of Italian opera, but which carries an unmistakably different dramatic thrust and fluidity, in response to Shakespeare’s text. 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. Keith Warner (Wozzeck, Der Ring des Nibelungen) directs a new production of this masterpiece, The Royal Opera’s first in 30 years.

Credits

Music
Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto
Arrigo Boito
Director
Keith Warner
Set designer
Boris Kudlička
Costume designer
Kaspar Glarner
Lighting designer
Bruno Poet
Choreographer
Michael Barry
Fight director
Ran Arthur Braun
Performed by
The Royal Opera

Performers

Conductor
Antonio Pappano
Otello
Jonas Kaufmann
Desdemona
Maria Agresta
Iago
Ludovic Tézier
Cassio
Frédéric Antoun
Roderigo
Thomas Atkins
Emilia
Kai Rüütel
Montano
Simon Shibambu
Lodovico
In Sung Sim
Herald
Thomas Barnard
Chorus
Royal Opera Chorus
Concert Master
Vasko Vassilev
Orchestra
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

Cast sheets

Cast sheets will be available here soon.

News and features

To find out more visit the Otello production page.