Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Verdi - Otello / Muti Domingo Frittoli Nucci Ceron La Scala|
Actors: Placido Domingo, Leo Nucci, Cesare Catani, Barbara Frittoli, Rossana Rinaldi
Director: Carlo Battistoni
Genres: Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts
The Milan Otello traditionally opens the Scala season and did so in 2001 on 7 December, but at the same time it was the farewell production before the start of the three-year renovation of the house and not least a brillia... more »
Z. Fu | New York, NY | 08/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have seen all four Domingo's Otello DVDs (this, Zeffirelli film version, Covent Garden, and Met). I can safely say this is overall the best.
The high quality of the performance is apparent from the opening storm scene. La Scala chorus and Muti's conducting are electrifying here. Muti whipped the "storm" into such a frenzy that one fears for the lives of those on the ship. In fact, I have never enjoyed the entire first act more.
Domingo is once again a phenomenal Moor. He sings like a man half of his age! His timber is secure and dark with a ringing top. Nucci is a true Verdian baritone. His Iago is nasty and brutal. Barbara Frittoli is not a submissive, soft, weak, weeping willow Desdemona that has been popularized by the likes of Te Kanawa, Fleming and Freni. This is a woman who challenges social conventions, and is not afraid to die for love.
Graham Vick's stage direction is right on the money. In the scene where Otello hides and eavesdrops on Cassio behind a partition (as in tradition), Vick has Domingo descend the stage which has been lifted up for the purpose. This underscores the subhuman state that jealousy has reduced Otello into. A masterstroke!
The performance is captured in rich color and Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound. I will be playing this DVD again and again for years to come."
Wonderful ... but....
Mark | 12/15/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Comparing this production and cast to the Covent Garden version I come up with a mixed set of impressions. Amazingly, Domingo is as convincing vocally and dramatically here as he was in 1992. (Is he a witch?) He has added some new twists to his interpretation that really work -- as did his dramatic choices in the earlier version..not better but different and equally effective. (Yes, he is a witch in this role.) The differences lie in the rest of the cast and in the production itself. The overall intensity and dramatic cohesion of the Covent Garden version are not quite met here. Beautiful sets, beautiful costumes (too beautiful?...all the townspeople and soldiers were apparently wealthy) are delicious to look at if somewhat disconcerting given the application of them to all in the cast. Some of the direction drains tension out of the drama...when comparing it to Covent Garden. The love duet interaction for instance did not make me feel I was witness to an intimate exchange of people in the throes of new-love. Why is it that a director would ever think that a love scene between two lovers would be experienced across the room/stage from one another? But...the main difference not to the good is Leo Nucci vs. Sergei Lieferkus as Iago. Mr. Nucci is cardboard-ish and his chemistry and sway with Otello not apparent. Lieferkus (the cat) and Domingo were electric. Barbara Frittoli certainly sings and looks well however she did not come across the footlights for me. Kiri Te Kanawa -- while too mature visually -- made me feel her young and aching love, confusion, and fear of (and for)Otello vocally and dramatically. And her voice has a finish on it that is meltingly beautiful. I was intrigued by the new 3rd act music (new to me). It was beautiful and surprising. I'm glad (very) I have this La Scala production for Domingo's performance and for this incredible record of what -- when you are Domingo -- 60 looks and sounds like in one of the more demanding operatic roles."
His Majesty: Placido Domingo
Mark | United States | 03/25/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This could be Domingo's last Otello, and for that alone, it is worth to have. Is is better than previous ones? (i.e. Solti's at Covent Garden), well No and definitely not and this for many reasons.This Otello has been recorded at la Scala in December 2001. To start, La Scala's directions falls far behind Covent Garden's in every aspect. The sets are monotoneous and really boring. Frittoli's desdemona can't really be compared to Te Kanawa's. Frittoli is really an excellent actress, and also has a nice voice but it just couldn't fit well in here. It is said that her Desdemona at the Met was a success, but it wasn't as good in here.Nucci's Iago is very nice. He sings like a true Verdian, getting away from all the vulgarity most Iagos follow. With age, he got a darker and darker voice which he uses nicely in this production.Muti's Otello is one of the most exciting I have ever heard.And now Domingo, with what has been said his last Otello (at 60 years old). Is he better than he was in Covent Garden about 10 years ago, well definitely not. He sings very quickly at high notes and tries to go slowly most of the time. Is this because of the age, well probably not. It just turned out that during these La Scala performances, he just wasn't at his best. At one performance he had to stop after Ora e per Sempre and excused himself to the audiance, and then had to cancel another performance. Despite all that, his rendition of Otello here is MAJESTIC. He owns the stage. Every "move" is exciting, and despite a rather hard 2nd act, he delivers extremely beautiful 3d and 4th act. His "Niun me Tema" is one of the most beautiful and most sincere in record.To sum up, if you ever need an Otello on DVD, I would first recommend Domingo at Covent Garden and then at La Scala. Vicker's movie with Karajan has horrible syncro and acting, but very nice musically and some cuts."
leelee | Chicago, IL | 02/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Domingo, Domingo, Domingo...what an incredible singer and actor. I've seen the other two Othellos and they are both marvellous. It's incredible how consistently good Domingo is in all three performances. This is definitely a great version to have in your opera collection. Personally, this is my favorite because I really like the way Barbara Frittoli portrays Desdemona. Her Desdemona is defiant and strong. Frittoli has terrific dramatic instincts and is a beautiful lady too. Frittoli plays Desdemona in an ever-increasing state of shock and disbelief which is far more credible than timid Desdemonas popularized by other sopranos. Watch the scene where Othello orders her to "cry" and down to the ground. Frittoli's Desdemona fights her pride and very reluctantly lies face down in the slime. In such a humiliating scene, Desdemona still retains her dignity. Now that's great acting! Frittoli definitely can be the next superstar soprano. Her voice is big and ripe - a gorgeous lyric spinto. I thought the costumes and sets were very nicely done. I'm not as interested in set design - ultimately, it's about the music! Highly recommended!"