This classic opera almost didn’t see the light of day. After completing and premiering his opera Aida in 1871, Giuseppe Verdi felt it was about time he took early retirement and put an end to his career as a composer. Luckily, many of the people surrounding Verdi at the time, including Italian editor and musician Giulio Ricordi, quickly realised that this would be a waste of both time and profits, and set about finding some convincing inspiration that would capture Verdi’s attention and encourage him to go back to what he did best. Thanks to Ricordi’s powers of persuasion, Verdi’s take on the Shakespeare classic, Othello, made it to the stage in 1887 and has been capturing and inspiring audiences ever since. This month it comes to the stage of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, with the original libretto by Arrigo Boito. In parallel, the Liceu is also showing Gioachino Rossini’s earlier version of Otello (February 3rd and 6th), which was first performed in 1816. Rossini’s version differs quite dramatically from both the original Shakespeare play and Verdi’s version—it is set in Venice (rather than Cyprus) and Jago’s role is less decisive. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to contrast both versions in the same season.
More information here.