Otello

Photos from Otello

OTELLO

Opera composed by Giuseppe Verdi, libretto by Arrigo Boito based on Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’. Premiered February 5, 1887 at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan.

Sponsored by Nancy Pillsbury Shirley.

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Friday, March 6th, 2015 at 8pm
Sunday, March 8th, 2015 at 3pm

At the Skip Viragh Center for the Arts at Chaminade College Preparatory School
425 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63131

Sung in Italian with English supertitles.

Director: Mark Freiman

Orchestra conducted by Kostis Protopapas

 

Cast:

Otello: Adam Herskowitz

Desdemona: Jacqueline Venable Simmons

Iago: Christopher Holmes

Emilia: Robin Bradley

Cassio: Zachary Devin

Roderigo: Clark Sturdevant

Lodovico: Mark Freiman

Montano: Winston Sullivan

A Herald: Mike Oelkers

 

Synopsis:

Act I
The Moor Otello, a Venetian general and governor of Cyprus, lands his ship safely in the port during a fierce storm and announces the destruction of the invading Turkish fleet. Iago, Otello’s ensign, promises the wealthy Roderigo that Otello’s new wife Desdemona, whom Rodrigo is in love with, will soon tire of her husband. He reveals his hatred for Otello, who passed him over for advancement, promoting Cassio instead. While the citizens celebrate the governor’s victory and his safe return home, Iago proposes a toast. Cassio declines to drink, but Iago argues he cannot refuse to salute Otello’s new wife. Cassio consents and grows tipsy as Iago provokes Roderigo to get into a fight with Cassio. Montano, the former governor, tries to separate the two, but Cassio attacks him as well. Otello appears from the castle to restore order, furious about his soldiers’ behavior. When he sees Desdemona disturbed by the commotion, he takes away Cassio’s recent promotion and commands everyone to leave.

Act II
Iago advises Cassio to present his case to Desdemona. He argues that her influence on the general will certainly get Cassio reinstated. Iago watches as Cassio approaches Desdemona in the garden. When Otello enters, the lieutenant makes casual remarks about Desdemona’s fidelity. Enchanted by his wife’s beauty, Otello greets her lovingly, but when she brings up the question of Cassio’s demotion he is angered and complains of a headache. She offers a handkerchief to cool his forehead, but he throws it to the ground. Her attendant Emilia, who is Iago’s wife, picks it up. As Desdemona tries to calm Otello, Iago seizes the handkerchief from Emilia. Otello asks to be alone and everybody leaves, except for Iago, who remains to observe Otello’s growing suspicion. To fan the flames, he invents a story of how Cassio spoke of Desdemona in his sleep; he mentions that he saw her handkerchief in Cassio’s hand. Exploding with rage and jealousy, Otello swears vengeance.

Act III
Iago tells Otello that soon he will have further proof of his wife and Cassio’s betrayal. Desdemona enters, and Otello speaks calmly until she revives the subject of Cassio. When Otello demands the handkerchief he gave her, she again pleads for Cassio. Unable to control his fury any longer, Otello accuses her of infidelity and dismisses her. Iago returns with Cassio, asking about his romantic adventures and letting Otello, who is hiding, assume he is speaking of Desdemona. When Cassio shows a handkerchief supposedly left for him by a secret admirer, Iago grabs it and flashes it for Otello to see. As trumpets announce visiting dignitaries from Venice, Iago convinces Otello to strangle his wife in bed while he kills Cassio. Otello promotes Iago to Captain. He then greets the ambassador Lodovico, who recalls him to Venice and appoints Cassio to govern Cyprus. Losing control at this news, Otello pushes his wife to the floor, hurling insults. He orders everyone out and collapses, while Iago gloats over him.

Act IV
Desdemona says an emotional goodnight to Emilia and recites her prayers as she prepares for bed. As soon as she has fallen asleep, Otello enters and wakes Desdemona with a kiss. When Otello starts talking about killing her, she is horrified and protests her innocence, but Otello strangles her. Emilia knocks with news that Cassio has killed Roderigo. Shocked to find the dying Desdemona she summons help. Iago’s plot is finally revealed and Otello realizes what he has done. He pulls out a dagger and stabs himself, dying with a final kiss for his wife.