@Home > Otello

Verdi, G. (1813-1901)



Composed 1884-1886.
First performed February 5, 1887.
Libretto by Arrigo Boito (in Itarian),
after Shakespeare.

A Summary of gOtelloh

Act 1
In the late 15th century, on the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean, Otello, a general in the Venetian army, completely destroys the Turkish navy. Otello is an African black, and a Moor.
Iago, Otellofs subordinate, holds a grudge against Otello, because Otello gives the position of deputy to Cassio who is Iagofs rival. Iago plies Cassio with drink, and Cassio makes a spectacle of himself. Otello dismisses Cassio from his post.

Act 2
Iago tells Cassio that he should ask Otellofs wife, Desdemona, about his reinstatement, because Otello is influenced by his wife. Conversely, Iago also tells Otello that he should suspect the close relationship between his wife and Cassio.

Act 3
In addition, Iago comes up with a cunning plan. He forces his wife Emilia, Desdemonafs maid, to steal one of Desdemonafs handkerchiefs. And Iago puts this handkerchief in the house of Cassio.
Otello sees Cassio holding Desdemonafs handkerchief in his hand. Otello has no doubt of his wifefs betrayal, and makes up his mind to kill her.

Act 4
That night, before she goes to bed, she prays. As she prays, she gets an ominous feeling something terrible is about to happen to her. Otello enters the room, and throttles her before she can beg for giveness.
Emilia rushes into the room, and tells Otello that Iago forced her to be a part in his devious plot, and everything is Iagofs deception. But she is too late.
Otello falls into despair of ever seeing his faithful wife again, and he kills himself with a short dagger.

A Comment on gOtelloh

gOtelloh is the 25th title of the 26 operas which were composed by Verdi. Verdi was 74 years old when he composed it. He thought deeply in composing this opera. Of course, the original of this operafs libretto is Shakespearefs gOthello.h The opera gOtelloh was born from combination of Shakespearefs masterpiece and composition by experienced and skilled Verdi. This opera has the perfect artistic quality.

The title role, Otello, is sung by the gdramatic tenorh which requires a powerful voice and dramatic expression. Otello is such a difficult role that only a handful of tenors can sing properly. Mario Del Monaco was good at singing Otello in his time. Placido Domingo also is good in this role. At present, Jose Cura is famous for singing this role well.

Otellofs wife, Desdemona, is a beautiful but tragic heroine. She is throttled by her husband for being unfaithful. Even though they were on good terms at first, they sing the beautiful love duet in the last scene of act 1. Before she dies in act 3, she has two opportunities to sing. They are beautiful arias, gWillow Songh and gAve Maria.h I hope you will enjoy listening to them being sung by a prima donna.

Gluck, C. W. (1714-1787)
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Mozart, W. A. (1756-1791)

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