Otello has always been one of my favourite Verdi operas, the story is compelling, the characters especially Iago(even more villainous than in Shakespeare's play) are wonderfully realised and right from Esultate, Credo In Un Dio Crudel, Si Pel Ciel to Ave Maria the music is really some of the finest of any opera. This is a historic and I think important document of such a great opera. Is it my favourite Otello? Possibly not, due to some poor picture quality, either too blurry or too dark, or some muffled sound making the orchestra, who otherwise play with much stylistic and dramatic conviction, thin in texture.
However it does boast some handsome sets and costumes, often commanding(Credo) and sometimes nuanced(Desdemona's Willow Song) conducting and a very good chorus. Not to mention some fine performances, best of all being Tito Gobbi. Maybe I can think of baritones with more powerful or beautiful voices than Gobbi, though he still sounds great especially in the Credo, but when it comes to interpretation, musicianship, acting, intensity and intelligence Gobbi is one of the finest examples of any singing-actor I know. His Iago is both evil and smooth. Mario Del Monaco's Otello is also outstanding, he is totally immersed in the drama in by far Verdi's most difficult tenor role, and while he has been criticised before for "bellowing" he is vocally thrilling here. Gabriella Tucci is a delicate and poignant Desdemona, she has a beautiful voice and sings Ave Maria especially with great sensitivity. Gia Nella Notte Densa is ravishing also. Of the more secondary roles, Plinnio Clabassi is very good as Ludovico. Mariano Caurso has a good lyric tenor voice as Cassio, but rather stolid.
All in all, a flawed but very good performance helped hugely by the performances of Del Monaco and Gobbi, who are both among the best of their respective roles. 9/10 Bethany Cox
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?