The closing of the Monte-Carlo Opera season of 2018-2019 could not have ended better than with the new production of Verdi's Otello. And Monaco knew it: under the keen direction of Daniele Callegari and based on the play by Shakespeare, the opera was completely sold-out (to the disappointment of people waiting in line to catch a last minute seat).
From the beginning, the audience was swept away into a brilliant start. With nearly the full cast on stage for the opening act, the artists were slightly concealed by a see-through screen on which the storm of the tale was projected. A spiraling step and a walk bridge in classical style faintly showed through the clouds and lightning, as the performers prayed for safe passage of Otello's ship through the turmoil. One could only be dragged into the story.
However, though this was an excellent
Nevertheless, the strength of the beginning of the opera was carried through the first acts. Bursts of applauds and cries of appreciation washed over the performers between acts, as if the audience was finally freed from the grasp and the constraints of holding back their admiration. Quite genius, Verdi only introduces the first female solo voice at the end of the first act, thereby, even more, glorifying the beautiful voice of Maria Agresta, playing the role of Desdemona.
Yet alongside the brilliance of both Verdi and Shakespeare, one cannot dismiss the talent of the singers and a sharp eye for casting. The cast was exquisitely well suited to one another. It made the performance very powerful - no one outshined the other, a perfect balance that created an electrifying harmony on stage as everyone was given the space to share their gifts and skills. This included, and not in the least, the strong virtuosity of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Monte-Carlo.
Though the third act seemed to miss the
For information on the new season of the opera, please visit: www.opera.mc.
Photo credits: Alain Hanel