On Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Classic and Opera | Opera

Otello of Giuseppe Verdi

Otello of Giuseppe Verdi

The world had thought that Aida was the climax but also the final point of the creative trajectory of Giuseppe Verdi. Pero Otello demonstrated that both things were not true. The Scala of Milan released the work on February 5, 1887. The party turned into a clamorous homage the 74-year-old teacher.

Opera in four acts
Text of Arrigo Boito, based on the drama Shakespeare namesake.

Personages: Otelo, commander of the Venetian fleet and governor of Cyprus (tenor); Desdémona, his wife (soprano); Yago, second lieutenant (baritone); Casio, captain (tenor); Rodrigo, noble Venetian (tenor); Lodovico, (low) ambassador of the Republic of Venice; Mountainous, ex-(low) governor of Cyprus; Emilia, wife of Yago (mezzo-soprano); a messenger, soldiers, sailors, checkers, gentlemen, people.

Place and epoch: A port city of the island of Cyprus, at the end of the XVth century.

Report HLM
Otello of Verdi
Locution: Alberto Martinez

I argue: A grand scene with a thunderstorm in the sea, which intimidates the terrified people in the port, introduces the first act. In the square placed opposite to the castle, the multitude he contemplates, between hurricane-force gusts, beams and thunders, the arrival of the fleet ordered by Otelo, the brave winner of the Turks and governing just person of the island. The thunderstorm abates slowly, and the people withdraws in the middle of gratitude prayers God from himself. Only some officials stay in the shore, between them Yago, the envious evil one. (His conceived image of a brilliant way for Shakespeare has turned almost into model of the human nastiness). Yago invites his companion Casio to drink to the victory and the ascent and does that his ingenuous companion gets drunk; finally, Casio supports the reproaches of old Montano, who reminds his duties to him. Yago can stoke of such a way the conflict, that both face the weapon. Mountainous it falls down hurt, while Yago, giving the alarm, runs towards the castle. Otelo appears with his officials, it makes to disarm Casio immediately and degrades it: exactly what Yago wanted. Worried by the events, Otelo remains in the patio and looks at the sea, which in this moment begins to calm down under the clear starred night. Desdémona meets him. Embraced, Otelo, the Moor of Venice, of dark skin, and his blonde handcuffs, they sing one of the more beautiful duos of love of the operatic literature. It culminates in a melody that Félix Weingartner, answering to the survey of a newspaper of Vienna, pointed out how the melody of love more beautiful than had written. That way it finishes, with the biggest tenderness, the picture that had begun with the most violent thunderstorm: an admirable exploit of musical composition.

The second act develops in palace. Yago proves to be worried by the Casio destination and advises him, to obtain help, to speak to Desdémona, which at this hour usually walks along the garden. His satanic plan begins to become true in this moment: in the end there is the destruction of the completely innocent victim. Yago discovers his real nature when, on having remained alone in scene, it intones his famous "creed", the confession of faith of the evil, the anthem to the hate, the denial of every humanity.
When Otelo appears, Yago can plant on his soul, with vague allusions, the seed of the jealousy towards Casio. And when soon Desdémona asks his husband to excuse the official, who has spoken to her, the suspicion completely lacking in foundation takes body. Otelo pushes sudden the inoffensive request back; suddenly, it is taciturn. Desdémona, tenderly worried, believes that his husband is sick, wants to put a handkerchief in the forehead, but the Moor, furiously, throws it to the soil. Yago one takes it of the hands from Emilia, his wife, who has come running, because the handkerchief will redeem a decisive role for his diabolical plans. Otelo is considered betrayed, his world crumbles, since he believes that Desdémona, whom it loves more that to nothing in the world, it him is unfaithful. In a desperation attack he says goodbye of everything what till then was filling his life, the glorious past turns into something insignificant before the horrible discovery.
Yago, of a satanic way, stokes more and more groundless jealousy of his hated Superior. It tells that one night it heard Casio in the barracks calling Desdémona in sleep and complaining for «having lost it in hands of the black». Verdi accompanies orquestalmente this vile scene on a chromatic melody that crawls, so that the listener is thinking about seeing literally to the poisonous snake to wind in his victim before giving him the mortal bite.
Otelo, surrounds already of the madness, falls down of knees. He wishes the death, swears to take revenge bloodily, and Yago kneels down next to you, feigning friendship and help; the scene («duo of the revenge») is of a horrible grandeur: the hero enceguecido, wrapped in an infamous intrigue, takes the melody, while Yago sticks firmly to the above mentioned melody in a perfidious accompaniment.

At once third the lounge of the palace has been prepared for the reception of the ambassador of Venice. A brief duo between Otelo and his wife seems to announce the comeback of the past happiness. Nevertheless, Desdémona, innocently, takes the conversation again to the Casio topic. Otelo transforms immediately, in a fury access it attacks and insults his wife, who cries and that attitude is not explained. Then the moment of Yago comes. He advises to Otelo to hide, while it tangles in a conversation Casio, which has just come; Yago leads of such a way the conversation, that the Moor can only understand fragments in which any person is not named. And Casio, whom Yago throws of the language, relies on an inoffensive adventure with a girl, and Otelo believes that it is a love scene between Casio and Desdémona. Finally, Casio teaches to Yago a handkerchief that received from an unknown hand. Yago waves it like a victory flag. Otelo's torture can imagine on having seen it, since earlier there him had whispered Yago that had seen in the hands of Casio a Desdémona handkerchief. Before the catastrophe should take place, he announces the arrival of the ambassador to himself. But during the ceremony, Otelo's thoughts wallow in the madness, the suffering of his soul is visible.
When suddenly it jumps and throws Desdémona to the soil in a terrible fury access, the meeting dissolves. The old man ambassador Lodovico, friend and Otelo's admirer, goes out disconcerted of the lounge, while Ótelo, dispelled, lies in the soil. Once they all have moved back, Yago appears and jokingly it puts a foot on the breast of the lost heart man, whom a jubilant crowd acclaims out like «the lion of Venice».

The act quarter is one of the most perfect of the history of the opera. In him they join the genius of Shakespeare and that of Verdi in a picture of unheard-of dramatism; and seldom there were such a diaphanous music and such natural singing, and even so necessary as in this work, in which the lyric musical interpolations deepen in an unimaginable way the drama. That this lyricism full of an infinite foreboding of death, has to end in catastrophe, it is comprised from the first note of this act.
Driven to despair by the incomprehensible attitude of his husband, Desdémona has moved back to his room. Emilia surrounds it with attentions, prepares it for the night. Desdémona remembers a song: a servant was singing it often at his parents, in Venice. It is a sad melody of love, a melody full of nostalgia and solitude. From the musical point of view it is very particular: does it come from East? The interval of developing second would indicate that yes; Venice, formerly lady of the seas, has taken many oriental elements in his folklore. Desdémona sings the «song of the willow», which refrain «Salce, salce, salce» repeats himself constantly, sings it for himself accompanied only by a few instruments soloists, with deep sadness in the voice. Then Emilia goes away, but before it reaches the door, Desdémona clings to her with a scream, as if he was going to say goodbye forever. The night it wraps it; Desdémona is kneeled down opposite to the image of the Virgin, the unsteady light of a sail: "Aragonese bird...». It prays with fervor, of course not so much for herself as for the man who loves, who knows by intuition it has affair in a cruel intrigue. With big pain in the heart, he prepares to rest.

In the band an anxious oscillation takes place: the double basses attack excited, lugubrious, ghostly scales. Otelo enters secretly the secret door. During a little bit it stops opposite to the angelical image of his wife, who sleeps. The band remembers with pain the melody of love of the first act. Desdémona wakes up and hears the Otelo's only question: "Have you said the prayer of the night?». She answers that yes, but the sense of the question does not understand:« Since I do not want to kill you in sin». Desdémona begs uselessly, swears, does innocence protests. Otelo possessed by a demon, strangulates the woman whom it loves infinitely. A few violent blows in the door make to come round to the incensed man. It is Emilia, who has discovered the sinister Yago game. The criminal escapes in the middle of the general confusion. Desdémona has time to say a few words; it takes responsibility of the crime, declares that she has taken herself life herself. Lodovico presents before himself before the Moor, he is required to deliver to him his sword. Pero Otelo is terrified by his action and fixes it to him in the breast. Between the compases of the melody of love it falls down died on the Desdémona corpse.
More Notes
Rienzi of Richard Wagner
Nabucco of Giuseppe Verdi
Don Giovanni de Wolfgang A. Mozart
Every Sicilian eve of Giuseppe Verdi
Manon Lescaut de Giacomo Puccini

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  • On February 17, 1653: Arcangelo Corelli, musician and Italian composer is born. Grosso contributed to the crystallization of the concerto. Author of numerous instrumental works (Concert of Christmas, The Follia, sonatas), father of the sonata for violin and inspirer of a group of composers of this instrument like Varacini, Germiniani and Viotti.

  • On February 13, 1883: Richard Wagner dies in Venice. Composer of German origin, renovator of the romantic opera. His inclination towards the music did not wake up up to knowing the works of Weber and Beethoven. After a life lax and invested in the game and the women, he married and traveled to Paris and then to Dresden, where his work was recognized. The transfer of his remains was comparable to the funeral procession of a big sovereign one.

  • On February 13, 1976: the soprano Lily Pons dies. A voice crystalline and extended towards the sharp one, joined a graceful figure and personal friendliness, they constitute the props of the formidable success of Lily Pons. An exceeded publicity helped to do of her almost a sacred monster of the singing; so much it was so in the decade of '40 went so far as to consider her to be the best singer of the world.

  • On February 12, 1924: there is released "Rhapsody In Blue" of George Gershwin. Gershwin managed to unite in this work three fundamental elements of the music of his country: the piano popular tradition, the harmonic treatment of the music of the theater of varieties and all the ambience of the African American blues.

  • On February 10, 1881: I release in Paris of "The Stories of Hoffmann" of Jacques Offenbach. The opera is an adaptation of Jules Barbier and Michel Carré of several stories of writer Ernst T.A. Hoffmann. The first one takes place with a mechanical doll, the second one with the victim of the conjuration of a magician, and the third one with a moribund sick person. The history begins with a prologue ambientado in a bar.


  • Daniel Barenboim
    "The director does not have physical contact with the music that his instrumentalists produce and at most he can correct the phrasing or the rhythm of the score but his gesture does not exist if it does not find a band that is receiving"

  • George Gershwin
    "It would give everything what I have as a little of the genius that Schubert needed to compose his Ave Maria"

  • Gustav Mahler
    "When the work turns out to be a success, when a problem has been solved, we forget the difficulties and the perturbations and feel richly rewarded"

  • Franz Schubert
    "When one is inspired by something good, the musician is born fluently, the melodies sprout; really this is a big satisfaction"

  • Bedrich Smetana
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Astor Piazzolla

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Carlos Gardel

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International festival tango Granada dedicates his XXII edition to Carlos Gardel

75 anniversary of the death of the singer and tanguista Carlos Gardel will lead XXII edition of the International Festival of Tango of Granada, which also will organize several parallel activities between which there are holidays of trasnoche, tango in the university or an exhibition. Between the artists who will take part in three forms of the festival - dance, set of instruments and sung - there is Leo Sujatovich, Cristian Zárate and the Japanese couple of dance Kyoto and Hiros Yamao.


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