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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very strongly recommended!
This superb production is a stunning success. The entire cast sings and acts with total authority and conviction. Fleming sings beautifully (even if she does look a bit like she's walked straight out of an American soap opera), my only reservation is over James Morris, whose acting is a bit hammy (he should have made less use of his (very strange) eyebrows). Domingo...
Published on 16 Nov 2008 by Dr Konrad Schneckenhauer

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars otello
Wonderful singing, but such poor sound quality! And the real killer is that it is 4:3 format, which makes viewing on even our 37inch TV very unsatisfactory.
Published on 21 Dec 2011 by Mr. Brian Barber


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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very strongly recommended!, 16 Nov 2008
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This review is from: Verdi: Otello - Metropolitan Opera (Levine) [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
This superb production is a stunning success. The entire cast sings and acts with total authority and conviction. Fleming sings beautifully (even if she does look a bit like she's walked straight out of an American soap opera), my only reservation is over James Morris, whose acting is a bit hammy (he should have made less use of his (very strange) eyebrows). Domingo overwhelms. Levine gives the music all the ferocious power it needs, with a fantastically disciplined Met orchestra. Sets and costumes strike an ideal balance between traditional and modern, sumptuous and understated. One tiny gripe - not every line in the opera is subtitled. There are some serious gaps in the subtitling. Overall verdict though: excellent - the five stars richly deserved. I cannot imagine this opera better presented.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Otello the Great, 3 Jun 2005
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Mr. P. A. Hyde "Peter Hyde" (Hants United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Verdi: Otello - Metropolitan Opera (Levine) [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Another great production from the Met. I bought this DVD without the benefit of a review. I was not disappointed.This is a typically traditional production from the Met but imaginitive lighting and colour creates a sense of modernity. Placido Domingo, Renee Fleming and the dasterdly James Morris are in fine form as is the Met orchestra under James Levine. The picture and sound quality of the DVD are excellent. This is one of the best of my growing collection of operas on DVD- now over 70, and I can recommend it without hesitation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragedy and Passion brought to life, 21 April 2012
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This review is from: Verdi: Otello - Metropolitan Opera (Levine) [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
The story of Othello covers every human quality,weakness, foible and evil and this production vividly realises the drama and passion as the story unfolds. The acting of the three main characters is superb. Placido Domingo, although perhaps not quite so tonally beautiful in the upper register as in his younger years, draws huge emotional depth from his performance. James Morris (whom I didn't know) is a wonderfully scheming Iago and in very fine voice throughout. Renee Fleming conveys the wronged Desdemona's despair and incomprehension at Othello's accusations of infidelity with heartfelt anguish and sings sublimely in the third act. The whole production is conducted superbly by James Levene and I wholeheartedly recommend this DVD.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be called Iago, 1 Mar 2012
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I. Zaneres (west midlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Verdi: Otello - Metropolitan Opera (Levine) [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
As you may guess from my review title I am impressed with James Morris as Iago, he is a malicious, devious delight putting his heart soul and voice into the role.
This takes nothing away from Domingo as the suspicious, tortured Otello, another fine performance. Renee Fleming is a credible Desdemona, I think that she puts more into these earlier performances than she manages now. There are no weak voices or performances in the supporting cast, and the chorus do a good job.
Sets and costumes are up to the Mets great standards. The direction of the cameras is what I expect from Brian Large, I do look for his name on productions, he has a great flair for picking the salient action.
I shall look no further for other versions, fearing I would be disappointed. I did have the Zeffirelli film version, incredibly cheap but incredibly poor. It has gone to a charity shop.
In the booklet the arias etc. are listed and timed, there is a section on the production and background of the performance, and a numbered synopsis, more comprehensive than most. The bonus items on the disc are hardly worth a mention.
If you like being wound up and harrowed by an excruciatingly sad story, this is the one. Watch, listen and enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Zeffirelli softened the opera and plot too much, 7 Dec 2008
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This review is from: Otello (VHS Tape)
The story is simple, Shakespearean to the absolute extreme you can imagine. The peace and happiness of Venice is disturbed by the simple fact that a Moor, Othello, is welcomed as a hero after a battle he won in Cyprus. He is married to the daughter of a high ranking family, Desdemona, who is carrying in her own name the fact that she has a very doomed, demonized lot due to this very disruptive situation and love. This creates a rivalry, antagonism with the captain of the fleet, Cassio, and the extreme envy if not hatred from Iago is enough to turn a disruption, a breach of balance into a major catastrophe. A handkerchief and its supposed or alleged circulation will sign the end of Desdemona strangled by Othello, a strangulation that is very strange in this film since she will survive it long enough to expose her murderer and then die peacefully. Iago is then exposed in his treachery, killed by Othello with a spear instead of being tortured to death, and Othello finally kills himself with a dagger and still no blood at all. And balance is found again after the drama, the balance of sorrow, mourning and justice in a way. The play by Shakespeare and this opera reveals a deep racist inspiration. Othello is bringing this drama to Venice because he is a Moor, an Infidel, a Blackman, etc...That theme exists in other plays like "Titus Andronicus" or "The Merchant of Venice", with an anti-Semite dimension in these latter cases. The common theme is the hatred from a mediocre person who is trying to get even with better people than him by destroying them through some kind of plotting. But this plotting leads to the ultimate ruin of the plotter. We have to look over this dimension, common in Shakespeare's time, and see the more universal dimension. The man who is successful will inspire jealousy, envy and even greedy hostility. In this case, the object of that envy is Othello's wife and the game is to make the successful warrior kill his love, which he does out of some jealous lust, some possessive desire. The subsequent drama and the repentance of Othello shows how things are changing in these renaissance years, how women are little by little capturing some individual existence of their own, on the way to freedom, even if it ends up in death altogether. In fact Shakespeare in his English society is more advanced than Verdi in his 19th century Italy. Shakespeare doubles the point by making Desdemona's maid the final and lethal accuser of Iago and his lying and conspiring. We have to think of Romeo and Juliet but this latter case is pure love, no conspiration, jealousy or whatever, though the end is the same apart from the poison. A double death in the name of love. Zeffirelli does a pretty good job by creating a rich environment, at times maybe too rich. A slightly leaner production would have probably emphasized the beauty of the music and the singing. Othello as well as Desdemona reach the depth and density the tragedy requires. The cluttered setting de-concentrates our attention, even maybe our interest. The singing and the music require a stylized setting for our eyes not to get lost in the jungle of the visuals, short-circuiting our ears in their enjoyment of their listening.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars otello, 21 Dec 2011
By 
Mr. Brian Barber (Worcester, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Verdi: Otello - Metropolitan Opera (Levine) [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Wonderful singing, but such poor sound quality! And the real killer is that it is 4:3 format, which makes viewing on even our 37inch TV very unsatisfactory.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Verdi Otello, 2 May 2014
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This review is from: Verdi: Otello - Metropolitan Opera (Levine) [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
This opera was very well presented as you would expect at the Metropolitan. Both Placido Domingo and Renee Fleming performed to a good standard. The orchestra maintained the dramatic tension under the skillful baton of James Levine. For my taste I would have preferred Jago's (James Morris) baritone to have a deeper timbre, which I believe would have given more impact to his dark creed solo and the duet with Otello both in Act 2. This quality is well demonstrated by legendary baritones such as Robert Merrill and Tito Gobbi, but on the plus side, the lightness and subtlety in Morris's voice served the character well at other times. Overall the performance which I most enjoyed was Renee Fleming's Desdemona. Her precisely controlled voice seamed just right for the role of the tragic heroine.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Performances, 25 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Verdi: Otello - Metropolitan Opera (Levine) [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Very well done. Most enjoyable. Would like to have seen it live but I do not think it is performed very often now. Cannot think why.
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