Wednesday, June 28, 2017
It hurts to write this but the New York Times, at 10.45 this morning, beat the massed ranks of British broadsheets to post the first review of Jonas Kaufmann’s debut as Otello at Covent Garden. Zachary Woolfe’s verdict: In front of a sold-out Royal Opera House here, Mr. Kaufmann made his debut in the part, and he calmly, confidently sang it for the ages. His sound inescapably evokes memories of live performances and classic recordings by Vinay, Vickers and other masters; in a single night he joined their company. photos: Neil Libbert/Lebrecht Music&Arts Only the freesheet Evening Standard got online faster. Shame on the UK dailies. LATER: The Telegraph is sceptical.
Marco Vratogna and Jonas Kaufmann in Otello, The Royal Opera © 2017 ROH. Photograph by Catherine Ashmore The Royal Opera's major new production of Giuseppe Verdi ’s Otello will be broadcast live from the Royal Opera House to cinemas across the world on 28 June 2017 at 7.30pm BST. One of the major works of Italian opera, Verdi's great final tragedy is an adaptation of William Shakespeare's play. This new production is directed by Keith Warner and is the Company's first new staging of the opera in 30 years. It stars world-renowned tenor Jonas Kaufmann in the title role, conducted by Music Director Antonio Pappano . To enhance your viewing experience, access our Otello Digital Programme for free using the promo code FREEOTELLO, and enjoy a range of specially selected films, articles, pictures and features to bring you closer to the production. The story Otello retells Shakespeare's iconic story of deceit, infidelity and tragedy. Iago sows the seeds of jealousy in Otello’s mind, fabricating a story of an affair between Iago’s rival Cassio and Otello’s young wife Desdemona. Iago’s trickery cements Otello’s suspicion into mistaken certainty with devastating results. Read more: Our Opera Essentials guide to Otello Jonas Kaufmann in the title role of Otello, The Royal Opera © 2017 ROH. Photograph by Catherine Ashmore The music One of Verdi's late works, Otello saw the composer take influence from from abroad as well as look back to the traditional forms of Italian opera. The results are thrilling: from the violent storm that opens the opera through to Iago’s blood-chilling Credo and Otello’s increasingly desperate duets with Desdemona. 'This is one of the great scores for a conductor', says conductor Antonio Pappano. 'We're thrown right the way into a storm scene – both real and psychological. It has an incredible impact.' Read more: What makes Desdemona’s Willow Song and Ave Maria our musical highlight from the opera Watch: Antonio Pappano on what makes the score so powerful Maria Agresta as Desdemona in Otello, The Royal Opera © 2017 ROH. Photograph by Catherine Ashmore The production Director Keith Warner’s production explores Otello’s gradual mental collapse, as Iago’s machinations cause him to lose all confidence in himself and his wife’s love, and his identity fragments. Boris Kudlíčka ’s semi-abstract sets use light and dark colours to mirror the contrasting innocence of Desdemona and evil of Iago. The production also explores the relationships between Moors, Turks and Westerners in Shakespeare’s time, examining Otello’s position as an outsider. Read more: Keith Warner on the pressures and delights of tackling Otello Maria Agresta and Jonas Kaufmann in Otello, The Royal Opera © 2017 ROH. Photograph by Catherine Ashmore The cast The role of Otello will be played by world-renowned tenor Jonas Kaufmann as he makes his role debut. Maria Agresta , Marco Vratogna , and Frédéric Antoun will play the roles of Desdemona, Iago, and Cassio. Read more: Jonas Kaufmann on why he's excited that his first Otello is at the Royal Opera House Jonas Kaufmann in Otello, The Royal Opera © 2017 ROH. Photograph by Catherine Ashmore Add your review After the relay, we will publish a roundup of audience tweets, so share your thoughts with the hashtag #ROHotello . Your Reaction: Read audience and press reviews from opening night Frédéric Antoun as Cassio and Marco Vratogna as Iago in Otello, The Royal Opera © 2017 ROH. Photograph by Catherine Ashmore Otello runs until 15 July 2017. Tickets are still available. The production will be relayed live to cinemas around the world on 28 June 2017. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list . The production is generously supported by Rolex and is given with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, Mrs Susan A. Olde OBE, Alfiya and Timur Kuanyshev, Lord and Lady Laidlaw, Mr and Mrs Baha Bassatne, John G. Turner and Jerry G. Fischer, Ian and Helen Andrews, Mercedes T. Bass, Maggie Copus, Martin and Jane Houston, Mrs Trevor Swete, Beth Madison, John McGinn and Cary Davis, the Otello Production Syndicate, The American Friends of Covent Garden, The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund and an anonymous donor.
Royal Opera House, London Marco Vratogna steals the show in Royal Opera’s fine new stagingEven in a summer packed with intriguing new opera productions – Hipermestra and Hamlet at Glyndebourne, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Aldeburgh, Tosca at Grange Park – Covent Garden’s first new Otello for 30 years, with star tenor Jonas Kaufmann making his eagerly awaited debut in the title role, promised to eclipse them all. Finally, Elijah Moshinsky’s reliable if traditional staging would be swept away and replaced with an entirely new vision of Verdi’s great last tragedy. It would be the hottest ticket in town on what turned out to be the hottest night of the year.From the start, in the most musically daring storm scene in all opera, director Keith Warner reminded us firmly that Verdi originally intended to name the piece Iago. He places his arch manipulator, the Italian baritone Marco Vratogna, centre stage and there he stays, dominating the action, plotting the downfall of the man he hates more than life itself, the apparently invincible warrior Otello.Kaufmann looked terrific, every inch the handsome hero, and yet you longed for him to really let rip Related: Otello: opera, identity politics and blacking-up Continue reading...
Royal Opera House, London In his role debut, Jonas Kaufmann’s arrestingly-sung Otello is a charismatic and troubled outsider in a production that can feel heavy-handedDirected by Keith Warner, the Royal Opera’s new production of Verdi’s Otello marks Jonas Kaufmann’s long-awaited debut in the title role, one frequently regarded as a turning point in the careers of tenors who have tackled it. His interpretation will doubtless deepen over time, but this is already an accomplished portrayal, sung and acted, for the most part, with considerable intelligence. Related: Otello: opera, identity politics and blacking-up Continue reading...
Jonas Kaufmann in Otello, The Royal Opera © 2017 ROH. Photograph by Catherine Ashmore Honestly which lady doesn't like a bit of bad boy?? Particularly that bad boy is @tenorkaufmann #ROHOtello — Wisdom Hill (@Scarlet2046) June 22, 2017 Great performance of #ROHOtello despite stifling heat. JK magnificent vocally, and @ROHchorus were perfect. Production worked, tho not novel — sakipol (@sakipol) June 21, 2017 @ROHchorus sounding as good as it gets, from the initial storm the commitment is there ????#BraviTutti #ROHOtello — Sebastian (@Sebastian_G_A) June 21, 2017 Maria Agresta and Jonas Kaufmann in Otello, The Royal Opera © 2017 ROH. Photograph by Catherine Ashmore Enjoyed the music & the breeches, not the sets. Desdemona's bedroom was like a White Company ad. (Useful scimitar-holder though). #ROHOtello — Emily@italyheaven (@italyheaven) June 21, 2017 A good night,not a great one. Perhaps too many 1st night nerves, tho @VratognaMarco a convincing Iago & @ROHchorus on form #ROHOtello — Sarah Rogers (@tractorgirlie) June 21, 2017 Fantastic to see @tenorkaufmann succeed but everyone on stage and in the pit brought so much to #ROHotello . Really settled dramatically too. pic.twitter.com/EI8n4xE2jO — Shyam (@pronouncedsham) June 21, 2017 Marco Vratogna and Jonas Kaufmann in Otello, The Royal Opera © 2017 ROH. Photograph by Catherine Ashmore I absolutely love Jonas' profoundly human, sensitive& broken hearted #ROHOtello .It's complex,utterly entrancing&destroys you! #emotional ???? — Hariclea Darclee (@Hariclea) June 21, 2017 Agresta's Willow Song/Ave Maria was worth hanging round for. Haunting, captivating portrayal and her voice at its most beautiful. #ROHOtello — David Jones (@schnuckster) June 21, 2017 Warner's production Acts1&2: dark, pared back. Static in places. Reflects a dark grim piece? Orch.under Pappano intense &febrile. #ROHOtello — ((( Ann O ))) (@Ann_O123) June 21, 2017 Press reviews: Bachtrack ★★★★ Evening Standard ★★★★ The Stage ★★★★ Arts Desk ★★★ Telegraph ★★★ More press reviews will be added in due course What did you think of Otello? Share your thoughts via the comments below. Otello runs until 15 July 2017. Tickets are still available. The production is generously supported by Rolex and is given with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, Mrs Susan A. Olde OBE, Alfiya and Timur Kuanyshev, Lord and Lady Laidlaw, Mr and Mrs Baha Bassatne, John G. Turner and Jerry G. Fischer, Ian and Helen Andrews, Mercedes T. Bass, Maggie Copus, Martin and Jane Houston, Mrs Trevor Swete, Beth Madison, John McGinn and Cary Davis, the Otello Production Syndicate, The American Friends of Covent Garden, The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund and an anonymous donor.
The first newspaper review this morning of Kaufmann’s role debut says it ranks with the finest. Barry Millington writes in the Standard freesheet: For perfectly sound reasons, the Otello in Verdi’s opera falls prey to jealousy even more precipitately than his Shakespearian counterpart. Rarely has that gnawing suspicion seemed as convincing or moving as in the keenly awaited portrayal by Jonas Kaufmann, making his debut in the role, as directed by Keith Warner. Kaufmann may occasionally resort to stock gestures but he modulates effortlessly between the amorous and the unhinged, grippingly charting the character’s psychological decline. Warner’s thought-provoking production, with stylishly abstract, Moorish-inflected sets by Boris Kudlicka and elegantly timeless costumes by Kaspar Glarner, constantly deepens the perspective… No other reviews in yet. Were you there?
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