Verdi: Otello (DVD) – Jonas Kaufmann, Maria Agresta

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Verdi: Otello (DVD) – Jonas Kaufmann, Maria Agresta

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Artists: Jonas Kaufmann, Maria Agresta, Marco Vratogna, Frédéric Antoun, Kai Rüütel, Thomas Atkins, Simon Shibambu, In Sung Sim, Thomas Barnard, Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Conductor: Antonio Passano
Director: Keith Warner
Format: NTSC
Language: Italian
Subtitles: Italian, English, German, French
Region: All Regions
Number of Discs: 1
Studio: Sony Classical
DVD Release Date: June 22, 2018
Run Time: 157 minutes

On a June night in 2017, opera lovers thronged to the Royal Opera House in London to hear tenor Jonas Kaufmann, acclaimed by The Daily Telegraph as the world’s greatest tenor, make his eagerly anticipated debut in the title role of Otello – Verdi’s greatest and most demanding role for tenor voice.

Joining Jonas Kaufmann on stage were Italian baritone Marco Vratogna as Iago, who, as the Metro newspaper noted, “sings up a thrilling storm of hatred and malevolence,” and Italian soprano Maria Agresta, who “sang with a tender yet creamy intensity” (The Observer) in her deeply sensitive performance of Otello’s tragic Desdemona. The entire production was led by lauded conductor Antonio Pappano.



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History

Otello

Giuseppe Verdi’s four-act opera, Otello, based on Shakespeare’s Othello, is set in the late 15th century on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

Otello is the 25th title of the 26 operas, which were composed by Verdi. He was 74 years old when he wrote it (1884-1886).

The story adheres closely to the Bard’s play. Otello, an African Moor and general in the Venetian army returns home to a plot of deception created by his subordinate, Iago, which goes awry and leads Otello into a fit of rage resulting in his murder of Desdemoda, his beloved wife. Otello falls on his dagger in despair at what he has done in the final scene, which is an oft-studied subject in literature, opera and psychology.

Before she dies in Act 3, Desdemona sings two well-known arias, “Willow Song” and “Ave Maria.”

In the Met’s 2018/2019 season, modern architectural sets were used to create a contemporary feeling, appropriate for a story, which rings as true today as it did in the 15th century.

World premiere in Teatro alla Scala, Milan, February 5, 1887

 

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