[Met Performance] CID:290000
Otello {255} Metropolitan Opera House: 09/21/1987.

(Opening Night {103}
Bruce Crawford, General Manager

Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
September 21, 1987
Opening Night {103}

Bruce Crawford, General Manager


OTELLO {255}
Giuseppe Verdi--Arrigo Boito

Otello..................Plácido Domingo
Desdemona...............Kiri Te Kanawa
Iago....................Silvano Carroli
Emilia..................Jean Kraft
Cassio..................Allan Glassman
Lodovico................Hans Sotin
Montŕno.................David Hamilton
Roderigo................Charles Anthony
Herald..................Erich Parce

Conductor...............James Levine

Production..............Franco Zeffirelli
Stage Director..........Fabrizio Melano
Set designer............Franco Zeffirelli
Costume designer........Peter J. Hall
Lighting designer.......Gil Wechsler

Otello received eight performances this season.

Revival gift of Emily Fisher Landau


Review of Tony Angarano in the Hartford Courant

DOMINGO IS PRODIGIOUS IN MET OPERA'S REVIVAL OF 'OTELLO'

NEW YORK - Few tenors can meet the vocal and dramatic challenges of Giuseppe Verdi's "Otello." In the opera's 100-year history, the list of important interpreters is limited to (chronologically) Tamagno, Slezak, Martinelli, Vinay, Del Monaco, Vickers and McCracken.

Commemorating "Otello's" centennial, the Metropolitan Opera opened its 104th season Monday night with a revival of the still spectacular 1972 Franco Zeffirelli production masterfully conducted by James Levine.

Repeating the role he has now made his sole property, Placido Domingo created a volcanic Otello that resonated with dramatic power and molten tone. "The world's greatest tenor" is an accolade too easily accorded without commensurate artistic merit, but Domingo's definitive Otello makes him the uncontested monarch of the opera world. From his victorious "Esultate!" entrance to the pathos of the final scene, his tragic Moor smoldered with finely modulated passion yet commanded prodigious outpourings of expressive sound. On stage, Domingo's handsome bearing and natural acting ability make him a persuasive performer.

At the Metropolitan, as in the recent Zeffirelli film, Domingo is fortunate to play off singing actors of equal magnitude. Appearing as Desdemona, the role of her 1974 Met debut, soprano Kiri Te Kanawa presented an ideal embodiment of the character. Serene and beautiful, she also proved dramatically responsive to Domingo. While her voice has lost the lustrous top of her younger years, Dame Kiri, like many smart sopranos, compensates with greater richness in her middle register, where most of Desdemona's music lies. Only in the third act ensemble did she sound hard-pressed. She floated out the "Willow Song" and "Ave Maria" with ethereal tone and verbal meaning. Even in Peter J. Hall's unflattering, voluminous costumes, she created an image of feminine loveliness and vulnerability.

Every Otello needs an lago to catalyze the action; and baritone Silvano Carroli created a suave, Machiavellian villain. Using a velvet voice to conceal an iron heart, his insidious lago plotted the destruction of Otello with consummate guile. Carroli possesses an ideal Verdian voice with a range of tonal colors, technical control and easy top. His lago is the most satisfying conception to grace the current production.

In the supporting role of Cassio, tenor Allan Glassman, a Hartt School of Music alumnus, demonstrated a strong stage presence and firm, ringing voice. Formerly a baritone, he sings with enough power and ease to justify the upward transition, but his metallic timbre does not seduce. As a primo tenore, his abilities can be better judged when he sings Pinkerton next month in the Connecticut Opera production of "Madams Butterfly." Local opera aficionados may recall that the young Domingo sang Cassio in Hartford to Del Monaco's Otello in the early '60s.

The luxury of casting at the Metropolitan enabled the distinguished Wagnerian basso Hans Sotin to sing the cameo role of Lodovico, the Venetian envoy. Less successful was the Emilia of veteran mezzo-soprano Jean Kraft. She created a sympathetic character, but only a shred of voice remains. As the Herald, a walk-on role, Erich Parce made a pleasing impression.



Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).