Russell Thomas © Fay Fox


1224 July 2022
The performance lasts about 3 hours 10 minutes, including one interval.
Main Stage
Opera and music

Verdi’s Shakespeare-inspired penultimate opera marks the culmination of the composer’s genius, and is one of the most powerful works in the repertory. The perfect marriage of music and drama, with scenes ranging from the grand and ceremonial to those of exquisite intimacy, Otello charts the fall of an all-powerful leader from the radiance of power to the darkness of deluded jealousy. American tenor Russell Thomas takes on the title role for which he is becoming increasingly renowned, alongside Armenian soprano Hrachuhí Bassénz as Desdemona and British baritone Christopher Maltman as Otello’s nemesis Iago. Daniele Rustioni conducts this revival of Keith Warner’s brooding and insightful production.

Sung in Italian with English surtitles

Position of Music Director Maestro Antonio Pappano generously supported by

Mrs Susan A. Olde OBE.

Generous philanthropic support from

Julia and Hans Rausing and the Friends of Covent Garden



The treacherous ensign Iago vows to destroy the Moorish general Otello. He hatches a plot to disgrace Otello’s captain Cassio, then hints to Otello that Cassio and Otello’s young wife Desdemona are having an affair. 

Iago’s insinuations, coupled with Desdemona’s innocent pleas for Cassio’s pardon, convince Otello that his wife has betrayed him. His perceptions increasingly warped by jealousy, Otello decides that there is only one thing that he can do: kill his wife to restore his honour.


Cast may vary depending on date. Go to dates and prices to view casting.


CompanyThe Royal Opera

MusicGiuseppe Verdi

LibrettoArrigo Boito

DirectorKeith Warner

Set designerBoris Kudlicka

Costume designerKaspar Glarner

Lighting designerBruno Poet

Movement directorMichael Barry

Fight directorRan Arthur Braun


There is lift access and step-free seating to most levels of the Main Stage auditorium, except the Orchestra Stalls, which are reached by a minimum of nine steps. There are more than 100 seats in the Stalls Circle, Balcony and Amphitheatre which are accessible without the need to negotiate steps. In addition, many seats in these areas and in the Donald Gordon Grand Tier and Orchestra Stalls are accessible by 10 steps or fewer. Find out more about accessing the Main Stage Auditorium.

If you have concerns about how our Covid-19 safety measures may affect your access requirements, please contact