Sunday, 2 March 2008

Operatic Interlude - Verdi's Otello from the MET

I listened to the Otello from the Metropolitan Opera in New York last night here in London. When I lived in New York I was lucky enough to see this production several times with Placido Domingo and Renee Fleming which was pure magic (and an excellent James Morris as Iago). So when I heard this was being broadcast and someone other than Domingo was doing the moor I was a bit dubious - of course I will listen to anything Renee Fleming does and was again very lucky to work with her in San Francisco where she did Louise, The Marschellin in Rosenkavalier and literally travelled around (not in stalking way mind) to hear here in Manon, Figaro, Handel's Alcina and in recital several times.

The broadcast blew me away - and I was quite impressed with Johan Botha as Otello - I heard him in the past in Cavelleria Rusticana and Meistersinger and thought he was great and from his first note of "Exsultate" I was hooked - I was especially impressed with the way he sang alot of the role pianissimo which is how Verdi indicated it in the score (and gives Otello a more sinister feel).

Renee of course delivered in spades - she just gets better and better and I was brought back to the first time I heard her in the Willow Song 13 years ago - and her last act last night was a tour de force - Renee is a singing actress and I loved the fact that during the interval (where she usually interviews the singers - was she going to interview herself) she talked about the character of Desdemona who she thought was a bit of blank until she read Shakespeare's Othello and the first act where you learn the back story about Desdemona.
Brava Renee! Long may you sing.

Here she is with the greatest Otello of my time - Placido Domingo - doing the duet that ends the first act of Otello in concert from Verona.



Now back to finishing Tolkien Studies vol 4 and Old Norse reading!

4 comments:

Jason Fisher said...

I’m a big fan of Placido Domingo too. I can recall seeing a performance of Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, one of my favorite operas, on television in the early 1980’s with Domingo in the title role. Fantastic!

And thanks to the wonder that is the Internet, here’s a clip from that performance. He looks a bit like Robert De Niro, don’t you think? :)

Andrew Higgins said...

Jason

Oh don't get me started on Domingo - he is one of my favs and I have been lucky to see him in many roles including Hoffmann which is one of my favorite French operas (there is a great recording with Alagna that contains the complete Hoffmann with all the music Offenbach wrote for it - we once tried to do it when I worked at New York City Opera and it was over four hours). The thing I love about Domingo is the range of roles he takes on - over 125 - and I remember once when I worked at San Francisco Opera I asked him how he could keep learning new roles and he said - "if I rest I rust!" His Wagner rep which he took on rather late is also some of the best (I remember him at the MET opera as Siegmund in Walkure and holding the second note on Walse longer than anyone I've heard on CD or life - and his recent recording of Tristan is masterful (he will probably never perform this very tough role on stage so this is closest we will get) he also conducts and runs two operas - what a dynamo.

Have you read Tolkien and Lewis writers in the Community? Just started and its very good with some of the best background on the Inklings - will do some blogging about it in coming days.

Cheers, Andy

Andrew Higgins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason Fisher said...

Oh don’t get me started on Domingo - he is one of my favs and I have been lucky to see him in many roles including Hoffmann [...]

That’s lucky indeed! :)

Have you read Tolkien and Lewis writers in the Community? Just started and its very good with some of the best background on the Inklings - will do some blogging about it in coming days.

Not yet. I only just got a copy recently, but I’m looking forward to reading it soon. I’ll be interested to hearing your thoughts.

Blog Archive