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Otello ossia il Moro di Venezia
Directed for stage by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier. With Cecilia Bartoli (Desdemona) and John Osborn (Otello)

Gioachino Rossini’s Otello, which the composer presented at the Teatro del Fondo in Naples in 1816, is only loosely based on the famous Shakespearean tragedy. Francesco Berio’s libretto is primarily indebted to a drama that had been premièred in Naples in 1813: Otello by Baron Carlo Cosenza.

The figure of Jago clearly recedes behind the open enmity between the already secretly married Moor and Rodrigo, whose love for Desdemona is not requited; the handkerchief is replaced by a love note, which the real recipient, Otello, believes to be addressed to a rival; and Desdemona’s father, Elmiro, is a political opponent of the Moor.

Yet despite the predictable criticism due to these changes, this work brought Rossini lasting success in all the great theatres until the première performance of Verdi’s eponymous opera in 1887. Only rarely does Rossini’s Otello make it onto the operatic stage today. After all, the cast alone demands three exceptional tenors – an attribute that applies to John Osborn, Javier Camarena and Edgardo Rocha, who can be heard in the new Zurich production by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier, in equal measure. Cecilia Bartoli will be giving a further, eagerly awaited Rossini role début as Desdemona, and Muhai Tang will be conducting the piece.

Cecilia Bartoli appears courtesy of Decca.

Credits.

In the press:

Ms. Bartoli radiates a kind of charismatic diligence. It is obvious that she has plotted out every musical and dramatic moment: every subtle diminuendo, every gesture. But her charm — those twinkling eyes, those powerful low notes — is such that the effect doesn’t feel overly calculated.
Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times

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Broadcast date : March 8, 2012, 6 p.m.

Muhai Tang musical direction
Patrice Caurier stage director
Moshe Leiser stage director
Christian Fenouillat set designer
Agostino Cavalca costumes
Christophe Forey lightings
Hans-Rudolf Kunz lightings
Jürg Hämmerli chorus master
Zurich Opera House Orchestra


John Osborn (Otello)
Cecilia Bartoli (Desdemona)
Peter Kálmán (Elmiro)
Javier Camarena (Rodrigo)
Edgardo Rocha (Iago)
Liliana Nikiteanu (Emilia)
Nicola Pamio (Doge)
Ilker Arcayürek (Gondoliero)

Movie director : Olivier Simonnet
Collection : Operalia: what have they become?

Location : Opernhaus Zürich (Zurich, Switzerland)
Production : An Idéale Audience film production, with the participation of Clasart Classic, MUSEEC/medici.tv and France Télévisions.