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!