VERDI, G.: Otello (Salzburg Festival, 2008)

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- (Disc 1)
Otello

Date of Production: 2008
Festival: Salzburg Festival
Venue: Grosses Festspielhaus Salzburg
Playing Time: 02:10:00
Catalogue Number: A04001511
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Synopsis

"An amazing range, with fresh young lows and girlish highs, full, glowing middle and high registers, a timbre of silk, champagne and sandpaper, a great lyrical-dramatic soprano," wrote Berlin's Tagesspiegel about Marina Poplavskaya. The Moscow native was clearly "the queen of this operatic performance," as the eminent critic Joachim Kaiser put it in the Suddeutsche Zeitung, and perhaps the most dazzling discovery of this Salzburg Festival production of Verdi's Otello.

Poplavskaya's Desdemona shares the limelight on the stage of Salzburg's Grosses Festspielhaus with her partner Aleksandrs Antonenko, an up-and-coming Latvian tenor with an impressive stage presence and a light, heady timbre that gives his Otello a youthful note.

Particularly noteworthy are Carlos Alvarez, a powerful, charismatic baritone who infuses his manipulating Iago with criminal energy and threatening darkness; and Stephen Costello, whose sensitive, elegant Cassio reminds us that this young American tenor is already singing Donizetti at the Metropolitan Opera. Leading the vocal ensemble and the Wiener Philharmoniker with commanding presence is the great Riccardo Muti, whose conducting is "the motor of this Verdi opera" (Wiener Zeitung).

With its "enlightened realism" (Die Welt), Stephen Langridge's production remains within the boundaries of the "classical" canon of Verdi interpretation. Using filmic means as well as sand, rain and fire, Langridge finds many images that underscore the fragility and volatility of Otello's position as a social outcast and of his love for Desdemona. Unforgettable is the moment when we see the wronged woman no longer in her ornate Renaissance gown, but in a simple white nightgown, virginal, angelic, a lamb waiting for the slaughter...

Part 1


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