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Met Season Opening production sheds new light on the plight of Shakespeare's fallen Moor in Verdi opera

Dwight Casimere | 10/21/2015, 1:49 p.m.
NEW YORK--The Met Live HD performance of Giuseppe Verdi's OTELLO occurred several week's after the Season Opening Gala Performance of ...

On with the rest of the production. The beauteous Sonya Yoncheva gave an intuitive portrayal of Desdemona. As she revealed in her backstage interview with Owens, she wanted to portray her character as a strong woman, who is firm in her conviction that she is innocent of the claims of infidelity engineered by Iago (Zeljko Lucic, in a deliciously villainous performance), and foolishly believed by the vainglorious Otello. Her Ave Maria

The unraveling of Otello's mental state is perfectly built up over the course of the opera as it swells toward its tragic conclusion. Conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin was masterful in his handling of Verdi's lush, multi-layered score. In other less-skilled hands, the music could have crushed the production under the sheer weight of its complexity. In Nezet-Seguin's capable hands, it was at times dark and forbidding, with flashes of light, that underscored the needless tragedy created by Iago's cunning, feeding on Otello's fragile, twisted ego. His (Iago's) rueful declaration to the Cypriot's cry, praising the "Lion of Venice' as he stands over an Otello, crumpled by the weight of his encroaching insanity, "Behold The Lion!" is one of the high points of the operatic drama.

If you were already at the original MET LIVE HD cinema cast, it wouldn't hurt to see it again. I certainly plan to. Verdi's Otello, MET LIVE HD, Wednesday, October 21, 6:30 pm local time. Check local theatre listings. Visit metopera.org or fathomevents.com