Verdi: Otello (Met Live in HD DVD) – Renée Fleming, Johan Botha

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Verdi: Otello (Met Live in HD DVD) – Renée Fleming, Johan Botha

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Artists: Johan Botha, Renée Fleming, Falk Struckmann, Renée Tatum, Michael Fabiano, Eduardo Valdes, Stephen Gaertner, James Morris, Luthando Qave, The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra & Chorus
Conductor: Semyon Bychkov
Director: David Kneuss
Format: NTSC
Language: Italian
Subtitles: English, French, German, Chinese, Korean
Region: All Regions
Number of Discs: 1
Studio: Decca
DVD Release Date: May 4, 2015
Run Time: 157 minutes; plus 10 minutes bonus material

Verdi’s late masterpiece presented live in Elijah Moshinsky’s Met production with sumptuous sets and period costumes. Semyon Bychkov conducts an all-star cast led by South African heldentenor Johan Botha in the title role with a voice of “impressive size and bronze color” (New York Times). Renée Fleming’s Desdemona enshrines one of her signature roles in a definitive performance: “She knows exactly how to spin the gentle lines of the ‘Willow Song’ and ‘Ave Maria’ so that they softly fill the hall” (New York Times). A strong supporting cast includes the superb Falk Struckmann as Iago and star tenor Michael Fabiano as Cassio.

 



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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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