Otello

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Otello (Italian pronunciation: [oˈtɛllo]) is an opera in three acts by Gioachino Rossini to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Berio di Salsi, based on Shakespeare's play Othello.

However, the opera deviates heavily from Shakespeare's original, not only in that it takes place in Venice and not on Cyprus, but also in that the whole dramatic conflict develops in a different manner. The role of Iago is reduced to some degree, and it is much less diabolical than in the original or in Verdi's Otello of 1887. In further contrast, the role of Rodrigo, of subsidiary importance in Shakespeare and Verdi, is very prominent in Rossini's version and is assigned some of the most difficult and brilliant music. The roles of Otello, Iago, and Rodrigo are all composed for the tenor voice.

Rossini's Otello is an important milestone in the development of opera as musical drama. It provided Giuseppe Verdi with a benchmark for his own adaptations of Shakespeare. A recent Opera Rara CD of the opera includes an alternative happy ending, a common practice with drama and opera at that period of the 19th Century.


Synopsis

    Place: Venice
    Time: End of the 18th Century

According to the booklet of the Milanese representations of 1818:

"Otello, African to the service of Adria (Venice), victor returns from a battle against the Turks. A secret wedding ties him to Desdemona, daughter of his enemy, Elmiro Patrizio Veneto, already promised to Rodrigo, son of the Doge. Jago, another frustrated lover of Desdemona and hidden enemy of Otello, in order to be revenged of perceived wrongs, pretends to favor the love-suit of Rodrigo; an intercepted letter of the latter, by means of which Otello is led to believe his wife unfaithful, forms the texture of the action, which ends with the death of Desdemona, pierced by Otello, leading him to go mad, after uncovering the deceit of Jago and the innocence of his wife.”

First Act

The general Otello returns victorious from Cyprus to Venice. He is secretly with Desdemona, the daughter Elmiros, married and hopes to sanction this connection by his success. Rodrigo, the son of the Doge, Desdemona wants to marry his hand and spins with Iago, who has come into possession of a compromising letter Desdemona, a plot against Othello. Desdemona is waiting with her confidante Emilia in Otello. She is worried about his affection, because her father has intercepted a letter to Otello and it has not received any letters from Otello more. Elmiro, meanwhile, has decided to marry Desdemona with Rodrigo. The wedding celebrations begin, but Desdemona, refuses to marry Rodrigo. Otello interrupts the celebration and announced that he loves Desdemona, the Mad Elmiro leads his daughter away and there is a first confrontation between Otello and Rodrigo.

Act II

Rodrigo strikes Desdemona in the garden, she confesses to him to be already married with Othello and asks him to appease her father, but Rodrigo threatens to punish Otello. Desdemona is committed Emilia that she has revealed her secret, she fears losing Otello's love. Emilia guess the fate and decides to bring friends of Desdemona. Otello confides in Jago and required by this evidence of Desdemona's infidelity. Iago gives him Desdemona's letter, and Otello thinks this is intended for Rodrigo and he swears revenge. Rodrigo wants to reconcile with Otello, but he rejects him. Desdemona enters and now they accuse both Otello and Rodrigo of infidelity. Desdemona is distraught because she's behavior Othello can not explain; when the two men leave to fight a duel, she faints. Emilia finds her and warns her in vain before the impending disaster. Friends Tell Desdemona, Othello that has survived the duel with Rodrigo. Elmiro comes to it; he sees his honor violated and violates Desdemona.

Act Three

Desdemona with Emilia alone in her bedroom in Elmiros house. While Emilia tries to comfort Desdemona, the song of a gondoliers what Desdemona again reminded of their calamity is heard outside. She sings to the harp than lament the willow song. After Emilia, Desdemona has sent away and put to sleep, Otello comes through a secret door into the room to kill Desdemona. At the sight of the sleeping he is indeed uncertain, but as Desdemona talks in her sleep by her lover, he believes that Rodrigo is meant. Desdemona awakens, she recognizes the intrigue Iago, Othello but indicated their response again wrong and he stabs her. Lucio, a supporter Otello reported this that Rodrigo meanwhile killed Jago and that this had been his intrigue before his death. The Doge, Elmiro and Rodrigo happen. Rodrigo pulls his claims back to Desdemona and Othello Elmiro will give his daughter's hand now. Then finally recognizes Otello his mistake and he kills himself.

Program and cast

Ottelo: Gregory Kunde
    27th,30th March and 6th,9th,12th,14th April
    Jorge de León
    28th,31th March and 7th,10th,13th April

Jago: Carlos Álvarez
    27th,30th March and 6th,9th,12th,14th April
    Željko Lucic
    28th,31th March and 7th,10th,13th April

Cassio: Airam Hernández
    
Roderigo: Francisco Vas
    
Lodovico: Felipe Bou
    
Montano: Fernando Latorre
    
Desdemona: Krassimira Stoyanova
    27th,30th March and 6th,9th,12th,14th April
    Eleonora Buratto
    28th,31th March and 7th,10th,13th April

Emilia: Mireia Pintó
   

Gran Teatre del Liceu

Barcelona's opera house, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, was founded on the Rambla in 1847 and has continued over the years to fulfil its role as a culture and arts centre and one of the symbols of the city.

Today it is publicly-owned (by the Government of Catalonia, Barcelona City Council, Barcelona Provincial Council and the Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte) and administered by the Fundació del Gran Teatre del Liceu which, in addition to the aforementioned bodies, incorporates the Patronage Council and the Societat del Gran Teatre del Liceu (the old society of owners).
 

Origins: From 1837 to 1847

The Liceu evolved out of the Sociedad Dramática de Aficionados (Society of theatre-lovers) set up in 1837 at the instigation of Manuel Gibert in the former convent of Montsió by members of the National Militia, an organization of armed citizens with liberal leanings.
Barcelona's economy and population were growing fast at the time and the city needed a music conservatory. This led to the conversion of the Sociedad Dramática into the Liceo Filármonico Dramático Barcelonés de S.M. la Reina Isabel II (Barcelona Dramatic and Philharmonic Lyceum of HM Queen Isabel II).  In addition to its theatrical activities, the new organization cultivated Italian-style singing and music.
 

The building on the Rambla

The original building was solemnly opened on 4 April 1847. The plans had been drawn up by Miquel Garriga i Roca, subsequently assisted by Josep Oriol Mestres. The project was funded by selling shares, which meant that many of the boxes and seats were to be privately owned. The shareholders formed the Societat del Gran Teatre del Liceu, known as the “Societat de Propietaris” (Society of Owners),  which was in sole charge of running the Gran Teatre del Liceu from 1855 onwards, after it was legally separated from the Conservatori del Gran Teatre del Liceu.
The theatre was operated by impresarios who were given a concession to stage a specific number of productions in exchange for the proceeds from the sale of tickets not reserved for the Societat itself. This system was to endure until 1980.
 

The creation of the Consortium

By the last quarter of the 20th century this management system was no longer viable. In 1980, to avert the danger of the disappearance of an institution of such worldwide cultural renown, the Generalitat  Catalonia's first government in modern times – set up a consortium, the Consorci del Gran Teatre del Liceu, which also incorporated Barcelona City Council and the Societat del Gran Teatre del Liceu. Barcelona Provincial Council joined the Consortium in 1985, followed by the Spanish Ministry of Culture in 1986. From then on the Consortium took over operation of the theatre.

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