Otello

 

Giuseppe Verdi Otello opera to libretto by Arrigo Boito. Directed 2008 by Stephen Langridge at the Salzburg Festival. Stars Aleksandrs Antonenko, Marina Poplavskaya, Carlos Álvarez, Barbara Di Castri, Stephen Costello, Antonello Ceron, Mikhail Petrenko, Simone Del Savio, and Andrea Porta. Riccardo Muti conducts the Wiener Philharmoniker, the Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor (Chorus Master Thomas Lang), and the Salzburger Festspiele Kinderchor. Stage music by the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg. Sets by George Souglides; costumes by Emma Ryott; lighting by Giuseppe Di Iorio; video direction by Peter Schönhofer. Released 2013, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: A

This might look familiar. C Major put it's Tutto Verdi Blu-ray Box together from several resources. This Otello is the same disc that C Major released back in 2010, which I graded "A." There are few changes to the package; for example, the background to the photo on the front cover is changed from light gray to black and the logo for the Salzburg Festival has been replaced with the Tutto Verdi logo. I checked with MDT in England. It appears they will be stocking this 2 ways: C Major catalogue number 791504 for the Salzburg version and 725104 for the Tutto Verdi disc.

This is a good recording (I suspect maybe better than many of the other titles in the Tutto Verdi box). The rest of this mini-review quotes what I said earlier about the Salzburg version: "This title features fine casting of singers who sound, act, and look as they should; and the Wiener Philharmoniker plays well, of course. Excellent directing is combined with a big investment in sets and costumes. Superlative video work approaches what we expect from big-time motion-picture directors. The only thing that holds this production back from an "A+" grade would be weakness in the sound recording: either some of the singers had poor Italian diction or the the engineers had trouble balancing the voices to the orchestra. As one who knows the Shakespeare play in English, I found it awesome to experience how well it comes across, in this production at least, in the form of an Italian opera."

Update on 2013-10-09 by Henry McFadyen Jr.

This title gets a strong approval form David J. Baker writing in the November 2013 Opera News at page 69. Of Marina Poplavskaya as Desdemona, he states she, "demonstrates power to. . . give full measure to Desdemona's increasing terrors. Her final act is masterfully affecting."