Let me start off by pointing out that I hate this story. Or, to be more spiritual, I prefer stories where people are awake and take responsibility for their own actions. To put it another way, why didn’t Desdemona and all the people around her see clearly the danger in Otello’s behaviors, and just not allow him near Desdemona. I have the same rant about Romeo and Juliet. Always want to re-write the story. Such a waste of human potential and human joy in both cases. On yet another level – stupid behavior.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my mind – what a terrific opera! The story, the music, the singers, the sets. What a terrific villain Iago is. And how cleverly he weaves his plots, leaving a trail of destruction from start to finish. This Iago was incredible – he had a lot in common with Cassius of the ‘lean and hungry look’ from Julius Caesar. The costuming and the music told us instantly that here was the really, really bad guy.
The music throughout fit the actions much more than happens with most operas – it was almost cinematic in its use, and really was part of the narrative thread. Otello had trachea trouble part way through, said Evans Mirageas, the artistic director, during the second intermission. Still, he continued to sing with abandon, not holding back. Our Desdemona is an excellent signer, and very good actress. I was ready to storm the stage, telling her to go spend the night with her maid (and Iago’s wife) Emilia.
But I let the performance proceed. There was a prolonged standing ovation by the audience. It was very, very good. I just want to write that new ending.