Tonight I went to the Maltings to see a live streaming of Verdi’s Otello. It was streamed from the Metropolitan Opera in New York. It needs to be noted that it’s Otello rather than Othelo because Verdi was Italian and they’re not big on the old ‘th’. And the very strange pronounciation of Desdemona is also because it was written by an Ialian though I have no idea why the American announcer felt the need to pronounce it that way. He wound up sounding like an idiot.
I’ve never seen either the opera or the play, though I know what it’s about…of course. I was very much looking forward to it.
Most importantly, I was eager to see whether the recent improvements to the Great Hall had included the replacement of the awful seats.
Of course, long before that, we had to journey down to Alton in order to get a fitting for the lamp we bought yesterday.
I went, fully prepared to be unreasonable and horrid but, I only managed to get out “and you didn’t bother to let me know is need a special fitting” and the woman headed me off with niceness.
She not only went and found me a shade cradle, she also gave it to me for nothing because, as she said, it was her fault we had to come back. Now that’s a good bit of customer service.
On the way back, we popped into Farnham for lunch at Caracoli followed by a bit of shopping.
As mentioned yesterday, Mirinda has been struck down by the dreaded lurgy. Well, today it attacked me. After our shopping expedition, I went to bed for a few hours of recuperative sleep before heading out for the opera.
The sleep worked very well and I soon headed out, chicken sandwiches in my pocket, for the Maltings. I was all set to walk but it started raining before it was time to leave and Mirinda kindly offered to drive me…and pick me up if the opera didn’t go for too long.
The first thing I noticed was that Otello wasn’t black. Though referred to as a Moor and with a reference to his youth as a slave, the singer was very much a white Schumanian (Aleksandrs Antonenko). He was very good (as you’d expect) though completely overshadowed by the incarnate evil that is Iago (Zeljko Lucic). In fact, Zeljko was outstanding. The way he just hung around looking self satified when his plan starts to come together and his face during the Rodrigo/Iago/Otello eavesdropping scene were just perfect.
Desdemona was performed beautifully by Sonya Yoncheva. Her big scenes were powerful. My only complaint would be with the designer. I really think that Desdemona should have been dressed completely in white for the entire opera. The fact that virtually everyone else wore blacks and greys, her shining purity would have been a wonderful counterpoint to Otello’s jealous ravings. I thought the choice of a big red dress for Act III was odd. Surely red implies passion and, therefore a certain level of guilt. Not that she didn’t look gorgeous in it.
Anyway, all up, another wonderful streamed opera event. I have tickets to Lulu in November. I wonder if mum will enjoy it…