2013-11-09 Otello (Verdi), Deutsche Oper Berlin

Otello = José Cura
Desdemona = Barbara Frittoli
Jago = Marco Vratogna
Emilia = Katarina Bradic
Cassio = Matthew Newlin
Rodrigo = Clemens Bieber
Lodovico = Seth Carico
Ein Herald = Andrew Harris

Donald Runnicles, conductor

Director - Andreas Kriegenburg
Stage-design - Harald Thor
Costume-design - Andrea Schraad
Dramaturgie - Katharina John
Choir Conductor - William Spaulding
Children's Choir - Christian Lindhorst
Choreography - Zenta Haerter

I had forgotten how much I disliked this production when I saw it at the premiere, 30.05.2010. I felt no outrage this time just boredom. It was the female ballet dancer in the back of the stage that annoyed me. The dancing was as a comment to Jago's narration of the Cassio's dream. In one way a good idea. But the placement of the dancer in the stage room meant that I could either watch the dancer or the singers, and that made it a bad execution of an idea that could have been good. I wanted to see and understand the dynamics between Jago and Cassio but the movement of the dancer forced my eyes away from my goal. Putting distractions onstage is not good theatre. And do untimately this is the failing of the director Andreas Kriegenburg, the production itself works as a distraction against Verdi's Otello.

In midst of it all, here comes Otello, Jose Cura. Placido Domingo used to be the ultimate Otello, now we have Cura. From the moment Jose Cura comes in it becomes a better show, finally it is possible to throw oneself into the work. I have seem him several times as Otello before and in different productions but this was the best performance with the most beautiful and sublime phrased singing and a overwhelming acting. He was good before too but here is the matured Otello, the excellence that comes from being Otello in so many different productions.

In one way we could say Cura singlehandedly a dull production to an exciting experience. To be fair I must say that Donald Runnicles conducting was a great part of the success. Marco Vratogna was singing and acting as if the role of Jago was tailormade for him. Barbara Frittoli was excellent as Desdemona, so warm. The vibrato was heavy in the first minutes but then the nervousness left and the lush, warm tones shone from Barbara Frittoli. Katarina Bradic sang and acted Emilia wonderfully. She made fine portrait of her role. Matthew Newlin made an excellent debut as Cassio. He was a joy to see and listen to.

After such a fine opera evening what can be better than to meet afterwards "backstage" with fans from  the Nordic Countries, Germany, Austria, Hungary, France, USA to name a few places. I guess Marco Vratogna was the MC-guy, Barbara Frittoli was also soon off. Jose Cura talked to his fans while the photos was flashing.

This page was last updated: June 20, 2022