In honor of the Tito Gobbi centenary (in 2013), the Associazione Musicale Tito Gobbi has unearthed and released this Otello, performed in the courtyard of the Doge's Palace in Venice, in August 1966. While technical challenges involved in broadcasting a production back in the '60s, from a venue not designed for theater, caused occasional problems involving camera work and sound, the resulting black-and-white video is well worth having, particularly for Gobbi's brilliant Iago. Although an earlier Gobbi Iago is available from VAI, filmed in Japan in 1959 opposite Mario Del Monaco's titanic Moor, this later document finds the extraordinary baritone no less nimble physically and vocally. In fact, the vastness of the performing area and the evocative atmosphere of the Palazzo Ducale seem to draw from Gobbi a sort of ownership of the environment that is perfect for Iago, as he darts about controlling events like a sardonic puppeteer. And, as one recalls from performances at the Met six months after this one, Gobbi was able to imbue the character with a youthful, amicable persona that made Iago's vile deeds all the more chilling. This video also confirms the recollection that this role, even in late career, was one the great singing actor found vocally congenial. There is a lightness of delivery that makes Iago's Act I drinking song and Act III duet with Cassio particularly stunning. Textual and tonal colors are employed in a manner that feels inevitable rather than applied, and Iago's "Credo" might as well have been written for Gobbi, so perfectly does it suit his gifts. All in all, this is a dazzling performance.
The first of Verdi's two late Shakespearian operas stands as one of the great masterpieces of grand opera. José Cura, ranked among the world's leading interpreters of Verdi's music, takes the title role in Willy Decker's profound and intense production, recorded live at the Liceu, Barcelona in 2006 in true surround sound and filmed with high definition cameras.
…"Plácido Domingo is the finest Otello of our time, and Riccardo Muti is as good as any Verdi conductor around, so their partnership at La Scala, in a naturalistic production by Graham Vick, was guaranteed to be memorable…" The Guardian
Giuseppe Verdi was born in the little town of Roncole in the vicinity of Parma and spent the longest period of his life in seclusion close to Parma. He died in Milan in 1901. Today, the region of Parma honours its one-time fellow citizen with the international Verdi Festival organized by the Teatro Regio di Parma. Every year, Verdi’s masterworks are performed in the historical theatres of Parma and neighbouring Busseto over 28 days in the autumn…
This is a definitive performance of Verdi's great opera based on Shakespeare's play. Del Monaco rises to artistic heights with Karajan's superb support. There is much subtle singing from him as well as the stentorian power he is known for. Tebaldi is unmatched as Desdemona. The RCA recording with Serafin is good with a gripping performance by Vickers and Rysanek but the Rome Opera Orchestra is not at the same high level as Karajan's Wiener Philharmoniker. - from Amazon.com