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OTELLO

Giuseppe Verdi
To

Otello is a self-made man, a former slave risen to the rank of general and now in love with a devoted wife, Desdemona. But his trusted advisor Iago begins to manipulate Otello in a relentless quest to destroy the general. Consumed by paranoia and suspicion, Otello’s earnest love for Desdemona takes a violent turn with catastrophic consequences.

Verdi’s masterful treatment of Shakespeare’s tragedy is brought to life by a dream cast of COC favourites in David Alden’s highly acclaimed production.



Check out all of our video content in our Otello video library.

Connect with us on social by using #COCOtello | @CanadianOpera

UNDER 30? Get your $22 tickets here.

Performance alertOtello
contains scenes of a violent nature, including depictions of domestic violence and femicide, and features elements like live flame, e-smoking, strobe lights and atmospheric effects. Should you have questions or require more details, we invite you to contact our team at 416-363-8231 or 1-800-250-4653.  


Details

On stage at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., Toronto.

Performance time is approximately two hours and 40 minutes, including one intermission.

ACTS I & II: 65 minutes / Intermission 25 minutes / ACT III & IV: 70 minutes.




Sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™.

Download the 2019 Spring House Program.




CAST AND CREATIVE TEAMS

Otello Russell Thomas
Iago Gerald Finley
Desdemona Tamara Wilson
Cassio Andrew Haji
Emilia Carolyn Sproule
Roderigo Owen McCausland
Lodovico Önay Köse

Conductor Johannes Debus
Director David Alden
Associate Director Ian Rutherford
Set & Costume Designer Jon Morrell
Original Lighting Designer Adam Silverman
Revival Lighting Designer Andrew Cutbush
Movement Director Maxine Braham
Price Family Chorus Master* Sandra Horst

*Sandra Horst and the COC Chorus are generously underwritten by Tim & Frances Price

With the COC Orchestra and Chorus

This production was originally created by English National Opera as a co-production with Royal Swedish Opera and Teatro Real Madrid

Production Sponsor

CIBC

Synopsis

SYNOPSIS IN A MINUTE

Otello, a former slave, is now captain of the Venetian fleet and the new governor of Cyprus. His ensign, Iago, enflamed with secret jealousy, connives to destroy Otello by turning him against his trusted friends and his beloved wife. Otello’s suspicions regarding his wife’s fidelity steer him out of control. In a final, desperate act he strangles her and–upon learning of her innocence–kills himself.


FULL SYNOPSIS

ACT I

Cyprus

A storm rages. The Moor Otello, governor of Cyprus and a general in the Venetian army, arrives safely in port having defeated the Turks at sea.

Iago reveals to Roderigo that he hates Otello. Otello appointed Cassio as his lieutenant over Iago. Roderigo is secretly in love with Desdemona, Otello’s young wife. Iago vows to turn Otello against Cassio and promises Desdemona to Roderigo. Iago encourages Cassio to drink in public. When former governor of Cyprus, Montano, arrives, a sword fight ensues and a drunken Cassio wounds Montano. Otello enters and demotes Cassio.

ACT II

At Iago’s suggestion, Cassio asks Desdemona to plead his case for reinstatement. Iago makes casual remarks to Otello concerning Cassio’s and Desdemona’s fidelity and plants seeds of doubt in Otello’s mind.

Desdemona asks her husband to forgive Cassio. She notices his sudden agitation and offers a handkerchief to wipe his brow, but he tosses it blindly to the ground. Iago retrieves the handkerchief with the intention of planting it in Cassio’s quarters. Iago tells Otello that he has seen a handkerchief belonging to Desdemona in Cassio’s hands. Iago joins Otello in swearing an oath to vengeance.

INTERMISSION

ACT III

Desdemona approaches Otello. He demands to see the handkerchief, and when she cannot produce it, he accuses her of being unfaithful. Otello dismisses her violently. Iago contrives a scene where Otello sees Cassio with the handkerchief. Otello and Iago plan how to kill Desdemona

Lodovico and dignitaries from Venice arrive in Cyprus to recall Otello and Desdemona to Venice and instate Cassio as the new governor. Otello publicly denounces Desdemona. As the dignitaries flee the scene, Iago gloats over Otello.

ACT IV

Desdemona prepares for bed. Otello asks her if she has prayed that evening and again questions her fidelity.

Unconvinced by her denials, he suffocates her.

Emilia, Desdemona’s attendant and wife to Iago, discovers Desdemona’s body. She calls out for help and reveals to Otello the truth about the handkerchief and Iago’s plot. Otello stabs himself and dies, struggling to reach Desdemona for one final kiss.

GALLERY





Russell Thomas (centre) as Otello, (l-r) Andrew Haji (centre) as Cassio and Gerald Finley as Iago, Tamara Wilson as Desdemona, and (l-r) Gerald Finley as Iago and Russell Thomas as Otello, all scenes from the Canadian Opera Company's 
Otello, 2019, photos by Michael Cooper.

LISTEN
Chorus: “Una vela!” (“A sail!”)

The Cypriots witness the arrival by sea of their new governor, Otello, in the midst of a huge storm.


Love duet: “Gia nella note densa” (“Already in the dark night”)

Otello and Desdemona reminisce on how they fell in love and reaffirm passionately their love for each other.


Prayer: “Ave Maria” (“Hail Mary”)

Still anxiously awaiting Otello, Desdemona sings a heartfelt prayer.



Music credit: Verdi's Otello. Mario del Monaco (Otello), Renata Tebaldi (Desdemona). Herbert von Karajan, conductor, with the Wiener Philharmoniker, 1961. Decca
BUZZ

Otello's demanding score requires an extraordinarily skilled cast of singers, and that's just what Torontonians will get.” The Globe and Mail

“★★★★★…a flawless production” The Independent

READ

Director's Notes: Otello

Verdi's Otello is one of the absolute pinnacles of the art form – a miraculous creation. The creative journey the composer travelled in his long career is astounding.

READ MORE

Hear it First: Tamara Wilson's Desdemona

Tamara Wilson, a “veritable force of nature” (Chicago Tribune), rehearses Desdemona's haunting "Ave Maria" from Verdi's Otello.

READ MORE


Russell Thomas on Diversity, Activism, and Blackface in Opera

There is a push to change things by diversifying the stage but there won’t truly be systemic change until the back office looks more representative of the communities that house these organizations.

READ MORE


Johannes Debus on Otello

In our new multi-part series, COC Music Director Johannes Debus takes on Verdi’s dark, psychologically complex thriller Otello.

READ MORE

Primer: Verdi's Otello

Before you experience Verdi's Otello live, check out this primer for everything you need to know about the composer's penultimate opera.

READ MORE

Scaling Everest: Why Verdi’s Otello is Such a Difficult Sing

Critics and audiences who might’ve expected the composer to pick up exactly where he left off a decade and a half earlier were in for a strange surprise: Verdi’s opera forged a new musical language in response to Shakespeare’s psychologically complex, multi-layered text, bringing with it unique challenges for the singers tackling the piece.

READ MORE

EVENTS

STAGING OTHELLO & OTELLO
May 12, 7 – 8:30 p.m at the COC Education Centre, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (145 Queen St. W., Toronto)

This event is a partnership between the Stratford Festival and the Canadian Opera Company. Explore the story of Othello as it is understood through Shakespeare’s Othello and Verdi’s opera Otello. How do soliloquies and arias compare as expressive forms? What unique qualities of theatre and opera lend themselves to these grand narratives?

LEARN MORE

WATCH

Excerpt: "Una vela!... Esultate!" | COC Chorus & Russell Thomas




Excerpt: Iago's Credo | Gerald Finley




Offstage with Gerald Finley




Hear it First: Tamara Wilson's Desdemona, April 2019

Tamara Wilson, a “veritable force of nature” (Chicago Tribune), rehearses Desdemona's haunting "Ave Maria" from Verdi's Otello.




Johannes Debus on Otello, April 2019

Music Director Johannes Debus has a special knack for communicating the vivid, emotional essence of opera music and in our new multi-part series he takes on Verdi’s dark, psychologically complex thriller Otello.

Part One: The Storm



Part Two: Iago

  • On stage at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., Toronto.

    Performance time is approximately two hours and 40 minutes, including one intermission.

    ACTS I & II: 65 minutes / Intermission 25 minutes / ACT III & IV: 70 minutes.




    Sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™.

    Download the 2019 Spring House Program.



    CAST AND CREATIVE TEAMS

    Otello Russell Thomas
    Iago Gerald Finley
    Desdemona Tamara Wilson
    Cassio Andrew Haji
    Emilia Carolyn Sproule
    Roderigo Owen McCausland
    Lodovico Önay Köse

    Conductor Johannes Debus
    Director David Alden
    Associate Director Ian Rutherford
    Set & Costume Designer Jon Morrell
    Original Lighting Designer Adam Silverman
    Revival Lighting Designer Andrew Cutbush
    Movement Director Maxine Braham
    Price Family Chorus Master* Sandra Horst

    *Sandra Horst and the COC Chorus are generously underwritten by Tim & Frances Price

    With the COC Orchestra and Chorus

    This production was originally created by English National Opera as a co-production with Royal Swedish Opera and Teatro Real Madrid

    Production Sponsor

    CIBC

  • SYNOPSIS IN A MINUTE

    Otello, a former slave, is now captain of the Venetian fleet and the new governor of Cyprus. His ensign, Iago, enflamed with secret jealousy, connives to destroy Otello by turning him against his trusted friends and his beloved wife. Otello’s suspicions regarding his wife’s fidelity steer him out of control. In a final, desperate act he strangles her and–upon learning of her innocence–kills himself.


    FULL SYNOPSIS

    ACT I

    Cyprus

    A storm rages. The Moor Otello, governor of Cyprus and a general in the Venetian army, arrives safely in port having defeated the Turks at sea.

    Iago reveals to Roderigo that he hates Otello. Otello appointed Cassio as his lieutenant over Iago. Roderigo is secretly in love with Desdemona, Otello’s young wife. Iago vows to turn Otello against Cassio and promises Desdemona to Roderigo. Iago encourages Cassio to drink in public. When former governor of Cyprus, Montano, arrives, a sword fight ensues and a drunken Cassio wounds Montano. Otello enters and demotes Cassio.

    ACT II

    At Iago’s suggestion, Cassio asks Desdemona to plead his case for reinstatement. Iago makes casual remarks to Otello concerning Cassio’s and Desdemona’s fidelity and plants seeds of doubt in Otello’s mind.

    Desdemona asks her husband to forgive Cassio. She notices his sudden agitation and offers a handkerchief to wipe his brow, but he tosses it blindly to the ground. Iago retrieves the handkerchief with the intention of planting it in Cassio’s quarters. Iago tells Otello that he has seen a handkerchief belonging to Desdemona in Cassio’s hands. Iago joins Otello in swearing an oath to vengeance.

    INTERMISSION

    ACT III

    Desdemona approaches Otello. He demands to see the handkerchief, and when she cannot produce it, he accuses her of being unfaithful. Otello dismisses her violently. Iago contrives a scene where Otello sees Cassio with the handkerchief. Otello and Iago plan how to kill Desdemona

    Lodovico and dignitaries from Venice arrive in Cyprus to recall Otello and Desdemona to Venice and instate Cassio as the new governor. Otello publicly denounces Desdemona. As the dignitaries flee the scene, Iago gloats over Otello.

    ACT IV

    Desdemona prepares for bed. Otello asks her if she has prayed that evening and again questions her fidelity.

    Unconvinced by her denials, he suffocates her.

    Emilia, Desdemona’s attendant and wife to Iago, discovers Desdemona’s body. She calls out for help and reveals to Otello the truth about the handkerchief and Iago’s plot. Otello stabs himself and dies, struggling to reach Desdemona for one final kiss.





  • Russell Thomas (centre) as Otello, (l-r) Andrew Haji (centre) as Cassio and Gerald Finley as Iago, Tamara Wilson as Desdemona, and (l-r) Gerald Finley as Iago and Russell Thomas as Otello, all scenes from the Canadian Opera Company's 
    Otello, 2019, photos by Michael Cooper.

  • Chorus: “Una vela!” (“A sail!”)

    The Cypriots witness the arrival by sea of their new governor, Otello, in the midst of a huge storm.


    Love duet: “Gia nella note densa” (“Already in the dark night”)

    Otello and Desdemona reminisce on how they fell in love and reaffirm passionately their love for each other.


    Prayer: “Ave Maria” (“Hail Mary”)

    Still anxiously awaiting Otello, Desdemona sings a heartfelt prayer.



    Music credit: Verdi's Otello. Mario del Monaco (Otello), Renata Tebaldi (Desdemona). Herbert von Karajan, conductor, with the Wiener Philharmoniker, 1961. Decca
  • Otello's demanding score requires an extraordinarily skilled cast of singers, and that's just what Torontonians will get.” The Globe and Mail

    “★★★★★…a flawless production” The Independent

  • Director's Notes: Otello

    Verdi's Otello is one of the absolute pinnacles of the art form – a miraculous creation. The creative journey the composer travelled in his long career is astounding.

    READ MORE

    Hear it First: Tamara Wilson's Desdemona

    Tamara Wilson, a “veritable force of nature” (Chicago Tribune), rehearses Desdemona's haunting "Ave Maria" from Verdi's Otello.

    READ MORE


    Russell Thomas on Diversity, Activism, and Blackface in Opera

    There is a push to change things by diversifying the stage but there won’t truly be systemic change until the back office looks more representative of the communities that house these organizations.

    READ MORE


    Johannes Debus on Otello

    In our new multi-part series, COC Music Director Johannes Debus takes on Verdi’s dark, psychologically complex thriller Otello.

    READ MORE

    Primer: Verdi's Otello

    Before you experience Verdi's Otello live, check out this primer for everything you need to know about the composer's penultimate opera.

    READ MORE

    Scaling Everest: Why Verdi’s Otello is Such a Difficult Sing

    Critics and audiences who might’ve expected the composer to pick up exactly where he left off a decade and a half earlier were in for a strange surprise: Verdi’s opera forged a new musical language in response to Shakespeare’s psychologically complex, multi-layered text, bringing with it unique challenges for the singers tackling the piece.

    READ MORE

  • STAGING OTHELLO & OTELLO
    May 12, 7 – 8:30 p.m at the COC Education Centre, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (145 Queen St. W., Toronto)

    This event is a partnership between the Stratford Festival and the Canadian Opera Company. Explore the story of Othello as it is understood through Shakespeare’s Othello and Verdi’s opera Otello. How do soliloquies and arias compare as expressive forms? What unique qualities of theatre and opera lend themselves to these grand narratives?

    LEARN MORE

  • Excerpt: "Una vela!... Esultate!" | COC Chorus & Russell Thomas




    Excerpt: Iago's Credo | Gerald Finley




    Offstage with Gerald Finley




    Hear it First: Tamara Wilson's Desdemona, April 2019

    Tamara Wilson, a “veritable force of nature” (Chicago Tribune), rehearses Desdemona's haunting "Ave Maria" from Verdi's Otello.




    Johannes Debus on Otello, April 2019

    Music Director Johannes Debus has a special knack for communicating the vivid, emotional essence of opera music and in our new multi-part series he takes on Verdi’s dark, psychologically complex thriller Otello.

    Part One: The Storm



    Part Two: Iago


Banner photo features Dave Samuels (Security Supervisor) and Alfred Caron (Director, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts), by Gaetz Photography.

OTELLO

Giuseppe Verdi
To

Otello is a self-made man, a former slave risen to the rank of general and now in love with a devoted wife, Desdemona. But his trusted advisor Iago begins to manipulate Otello in a relentless quest to destroy the general. Consumed by paranoia and suspicion, Otello’s earnest love for Desdemona takes a violent turn with catastrophic consequences.

Verdi’s masterful treatment of Shakespeare’s tragedy is brought to life by a dream cast of COC favourites in David Alden’s highly acclaimed production.



Check out all of our video content in our Otello video library.

Connect with us on social by using #COCOtello | @CanadianOpera

UNDER 30? Get your $22 tickets here.

Performance alertOtello
contains scenes of a violent nature, including depictions of domestic violence and femicide, and features elements like live flame, e-smoking, strobe lights and atmospheric effects. Should you have questions or require more details, we invite you to contact our team at 416-363-8231 or 1-800-250-4653.  

Phone: 416-363-8231

Toll Free: 1-800-250-4653

Contact Page

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