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Verdi: Otello / Quadri, Windgassen, Jurinac, Mittelmann [DVD]

Album Summary

>Verdi, Giuseppe : Otello
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

This DVD presents Verdi's opera 'Othello' in a sympathetic studio recording from the early years of television. The camera's roving eye lends Otto Schenk's production an intimacy, which inspires a vocal and dramatic tour de force from Wolfgang Windgassen and Sena Jurinac in the roles of the tragic lovers Othello and Desdemona. One drawback was the fact that the television studios were too small to accommodate a full-size opera orchestra. The musicians and conductor were situated in an acoustically appropriate but geographically separate hall, linked to the film studio only by cables and monitors. This arrangement called for utmost concentration from all parties. The scenes were recorded live; editing technology as we know it today did not exist, so the work involved filming lengthy passages and repeating them as necessary. The very particular value of this video, now available to all fans of opera for the first time on DVD, is that it documents in convincing fashion the great German Verdi tradition – a tradition in which Othello has always maintained a leading position.

Norman Mittelmann frankly surprised me. I've heard him described before as a reasonably good performer, but nothing led me to expect the level of accomplishment he brings to Iago. The voice is a solid, dark baritone whose tonal quality at times eerily resembles that of Willi Domgraf-FassbSnder. But it is the intensity of his interpretation that makes this Iago stand out. After the well-gauged histrionics of his Credo, the beautiful soft, cantabile singing beginning at the German equivalent of "Vien dopo tanta irrision la Morte" is remarkable. His "Era la notte" is a whispered confidence, Cassio's supposed words as sweetly uttered a poison as any Otello has received. It helps that Windgassen looks both accepting and positively sick, but the palm here belongs to Mittelmann, who physically acts the role of this Shakespearean arch-villain to perfection.


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Works Details

>Verdi, Giuseppe : Otello
  • Performers: William Blankenship (Tenor); Adolf Dallapozza (Tenor); Willy Ferenz (Bass); Leo Heppe (Bass); Sena Jurinac (Soprano); Walter Kreppel (Bass); Margarita Lilowa (Mezzo Soprano); Norman Mittelmann (Baritone); Wolfgang Windgassen (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Argeo Quadri
  • Ensemble: Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1887