Otello, Metropolitan Opera live cinema relay, 27th October 2012Posted on 27 October 2012
Wonderful costumes by Peter J. Hall, excellent sets by Michael Yeargan, all beautifully lit by Duane Schuler help bring this Elijah Moshinsky production to life, along with deeply expressive music from the orchestra under the direction of Semyon Bychkov.
The star of the show was Renée Fleming as Desdemona, always beautiful and coming through in Act IV with a hugely sympathetic delivery of the Willow Song, showing emotion and bemused gentleness. Hers was a great performance, matched vocally by Johan Botha as Otello, but his characterisation was too one-dimensional, an angry man more suited to something like Rossini’s Otello that is not based on Shakespeare, rather than Verdi’s, which is. Hugely angry too was Falk Struckmann’s Iago, well expressed facially and in his menacing stage presence. His forceful singing carried great conviction, particularly in his marvellous delivery of the credo from Act II, though over all a little more subtlety would not have come amiss.
Cassio was superbly sung and acted by young American Michael Fabiano, Desdemona’s attendant Emilia was sympathetically portrayed by Renée Tatum, and James Morris made a strong ambassador from Venice, showing fine gravitas. This was the second Moshinsky Otello I have seen in the past few months, the other being a different production in July at Covent Garden, and it serves to confirm this director’s superb sense of theatre.
As usual during these Met cinema screenings there were intermission features, and this time interviews were conducted by Sondra Radvanovsky. Rather oddly on this occasion one of the main singers was omitted — where was Falk Struckmann? He may well have been more interesting to hear from than Johan Botha, who came over in this interview as somewhat inarticulate, while Renée Fleming was her usual lovely self, and Michael Fabiano came over as delightfully ingenuous.