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Otello: Zurich Opera House (Tang) [Blu-ray] 
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Cecilia Bartoli takes on the role of Desdemona in this Zurich Opera House production of Rossini's opera conducted by Muhai Tang. Based on Shakespeare's play 'Othello', the opera tells the story of the love between Othello (John Osborn) and Desdemona that is subverted and turned to a tragic end by the machinations of the wicked Iago (Edgardo Rocha).
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Otello is one of Rossini’s very finest scores. It’s not performed nearly as often as it deserves to be, probably because of the difficulty of getting three top-notch tenors in one place at one time. This Zurich production manages just that. John Osborn is superb as Otello (he’s blacked up, which will doubtless upset a few people). The stand-out tenor is Javier Camarena as Rodrigo – in the Rossini version promoted from a bit-part to being the son of the Doge and Desdemona’s other suitor. He sings magnificently, both in the heroic and in the gentle quiet lyrical passages. Totally brilliant – I can understand why he’s been getting rave reviews at the Met recently. Edgardo Rocha as Iago also acquits himself well.
Of course, this is really Cecilia Bartoli’s show, and she’s brilliant – as well as being totally herself, of course! It’s a good thing that Rossini’s Desdemona is not Shakespeare’s naïve innocent, but a far more feisty and rebellious lady – which suits Bartoli very well.
The production is in modern dress (60s, I think?) but otherwise pretty much sticks to what was intended.Read more ›
Fortunately, Rossini's score, along with the singing and acting, more than compensate for this appalling gaff. Cecilia Bartoli gives an impressively convincing performance as Desdemona. Fortunately, there wasn't much the dress designer could do to mess up the straightforwardness of her simple black dress.Read more ›