8.5/10
68
2 user

Otello (1992)

| Drama, Music, Romance | TV Movie
The Moorish general Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality it is all part of the scheme of a bitter ensign named Iago.

Director:

Brian Large

Writers:

Arrigo Boito (libretto), William Shakespeare (play)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Plácido Domingo ... Otello
Kiri Te Kanawa Kiri Te Kanawa ... Desdemona
Sergei Leiferkus Sergei Leiferkus ... Iago
Claire Powell Claire Powell ... Emilia
Robin Leggate Robin Leggate ... Cassio
Ramon Remedios Ramon Remedios ... Roderigo
Roderick Earle Roderick Earle ... Montano
Mark Beesley Mark Beesley ... Lodovico
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Christopher Lackner Christopher Lackner ... A Herald
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Storyline

The Moorish general Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality it is all part of the scheme of a bitter ensign named Iago.

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Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

Italian

Also Known As:

Othellos See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Version of BBC Sunday-Night Theatre: Othello (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nature Imitates Art
16 February 2006 | by GyranSee all my reviews

IMDb lists 17 versions of this, Verdi's masterpiece, of which no less than 6 feature Plácido Domingo as Otello. This recording of a Covent Garden production in 1992 is the 4th in a series that starts in 1976 and ends (so far) in 1991. To Domingo, it appears to be a career-defining role. In both this production and the 2001 production from La Scala, which I have also seen, he is at his peak vocally and he utilises his considerable dramatic ability throughout the range from tender lover to paranoid avenger. His scene near the beginning with Kiri Te Kanawa's Desdemona is imbued with eroticism. We first hear the leitmotif "Ancora un bacio" (one more kiss) that we hear again at the very end when both are lying near to death. When I first heard this leitmotif, so reminiscent of the Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde, I thought I was the first person ever to notice Wagner's influence but when I Googled "Wagner's influence on Verdi" I got 116000 hits, so I must have been the last one to know.

Sergei Leiferkus is a bloodcurdling Iago. His Credo: "I believe in a cruel God" frightened the wits out of my cat, who was watching with me. His scene where he whips Otello into a frenzy of paranoia is also dramatically riveting and merits an interval curtain call for the two of them. However, it is Dame Kiri's performance that sets this Otello above any other version that I have seen. She has a tender intensity in the quiet passages and her dramatic interpretation is spellbinding, particularly her long final scene with the Willow Song, culminating in her death. Conductor Georg Solti's interpretation of the score is at its best in the storm scene and the Iago-Otello duet where the music at times seems quite barbaric.

Visually this is as beautiful a production as you could hope to see. Sets, lighting and costumes create a sumptuous effect. The sound can be somewhat muffled, particularly in the choruses, as though there was just one microphone at the back of the auditorium. I give this production 9/10 for technical merit, marking it down for the sound and for the quality of Dame Kiri's wigs, but I give it 11/10 for artistic impression so, on average, it deserves its 10 stars.

As if this doomed marriage was not enough for one evening , at the end of the performance we see Prince Charles and Princess Diana, sitting together in the royal box, applauding enthusiastically.


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