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Verdi Otello

From 12 July TO 24 July 2022
Covent Garden - London
Program

Verdi : Otello

Cast
  • Conductor
    Daniele Rustioni
  • Director
    Keith Warner
  • Performers
    Otello: Russell Thomas
    Desdemona: Hrachuhí Bassénz
    Iago: Christopher Maltman
    Cassio: Piotr Buszewski
    Lodovico: Andrés Presno
BOOKING ON REQUEST

For all booking requests, please contact us by e-mail, specifying the city, the date and the number of tickets required at [email protected]

  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis

Covent Garden - London Location Bow Street, Covent Garden - WC2E 9DD London Royaume-Uni

  • Venue's Capacity: 2256

Covent Garden's lyrical tradition goes back to the eighteenth century. It is here, for example, in a theatre constructed in 1732 by John Rich, the successful producer of THE BEGGAR'S OPERA, that the London public discovered several of Handel's operas.

Covent Garden then also staged plays and pantomime, a tradition which continued well into the thirties. The theatre has since hosted the most diverse productions, including cinema, cabaret, ice shows, and the circus. Today only opera and dance (The Royal Ballet) share the season.

 

As is the case with many an opera house. Covent Garden's life history was interrupted by fire, which twice destroyed the building. The second Royal Opera was inaugurated in 1809. Weber composed OBERON for the theatre, and conducted its premiere in 1826; the next year, Beethoven's F ID EU o was staged. From 1847, Covent Garden most often scheduled the Italian repertoire, with works by Rossini and Verdi. After the fire that demolished the second theatre in 1856, and until 1914, the third opera house built on the Covent Garden site became known as the theatre that hired the world's leading artists (like Nellie Melba, Caruso, and Adelina Patti, who refused all rehearsals by contract), and paid them royally. Several legendary conductors furthered the Royal Opera House's reputation after the First World War, such as Bruno Walter, and, of course, Thomas Beecham, who introduced the opera of Richard Strauss.

 

During the Second World War, Covent Garden became a "Palais de Dance" (sic). At the end of the war, following an intense period of negogiations. the ambitious decision was made to found a permanent opera company. Karl Rankl was appointed the first Music Director of the Covent Garden Opera Company (it became The Royal Opera in 1968) which gave its first performance in 1947.

 

Rankl's successors - Rafael Kubelik, Georg Solti, Colin Davis, and Bernard Haitink - have managed to maintain the company spirit and even the most celebrated guest artists are obliged to attend rehearsals.

Covent Garden

The seating plan is given as an indication and has no contractual value.
The division of categories may differ depending on shows and dates.

Synopsis

Otello

OTELLO, A TOUCHING TALE OF LOVE AND TRAGEDY

Composed by renowned Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi, this is a four-act opera that has always been well-received by audiences. Verdi had retired after the roaring success of his work Aida, and came out of retirement to compose this opera. It was first performed in 1887 at La Scala in Milan.

 

Based on Shakespeare's play Othello, it is a tragic story of love that meets an unfortunate and untimely end at the hands of betrayal and manipulation. It highlights effects of jealousy- both personal and political- on the lives of the characters. String, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments are used to portray different emotions. The love duets towards the beginning of the opera have been known to be particularly touching.

HISTORY

The story is set in Cyprus in the late 15th Century and revolves around the relationship between the General Otello and his wife Desdemona. The scheming Iago is the villain in the story and it is due to his machinations that the tragedy is brought about. The tale deals with the important issues of politics, love and treachery- all relevant topics even today.

Act 1

It starts with a storm in the sea as the Cypriots anxiously await the return of their general from battle. The storm and the tension are beautifully portrayed with percussion and brass instruments. The ship lands safely and Otello conveys the news of their victory. This establishes his position of authority. Iago's jealous hatred for him is revealed. The General's loving relationship with Desdemona is highlighted with melodious love duets.

In Act 2

Iago carries out his scheme of ruining the General. Iago plants the seed of doubt in the General's mind by implying that Desdemona is unfaithful to him. Previously dishonoured Captain, Cassio is cleverly framed as Desdemona's lover. Desdemona petitions for Cassio to be reinstated to his title and this is portrayed as a sign of her devotion to Cassio. The General is consumed with fury when Iago tells him that he had seen Desdemona's handkerchief in Cassio's apartment.

Act 3

It sees heightened action as Iago presents the stolen handkerchief as false proof. Blinded by jealousy, the General takes Iago's statements at their face value. He confronts Desdemona and is convinced of her guilt though she denies it. Anger and rage takes precedence over love.

Act 4

Desdemona's beautiful prayer shows acceptance of her fate and heralds the tragic culmination of events. The General, in his anger, takes a step that he will soon regret. Iago's treachery is eventually revealed. A horrified Othello has a crushing moment of realisation, but it is already too late for the lovers. Melancholy notes underline the tragedy of the tale and brings the opera to a close.

Verdi's version of this famous Shakespearean play has been critically acclaimed and is definitely worth watching.

MAIN ROLES

Otello, The General: Tenor
Desdemona, his wife: Soprano
Iago, his subordinate: Baritone
Cassio, dishonoured Captain: Tenor
Emilia, Iago's wife and Desdemona's maid: Mezzo Soprano

Covent Garden

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