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Giuseppe Verdi Otello

Dramma lirico in four acts
Text by Arrigo Boito based on the tragedy Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare

New production
In Italian, with German and English surtitles

Coproduction with Teatro dell'Opera Roma

Duration of the performance: approx. 3 hours


  • 01 August 2008, 19:30


  • 05 August 2008, 19:30
  • 10 August 2008, 19:30
  • 17 August 2008, 15:00
  • 21 August 2008, 19:30
  • 24 August 2008, 19:30
  • 27 August 2008, 19:30

Print programme (PDF)


Riccardo Muti, Conductor
Stephen Langridge, Stage director
George Souglides, Sets
Emma Ryott, Costumes
Giuseppe Di Iorio, Lighting
Philippe Giraudeau, Choreography
Malcolm Ranson, Battle scenes
Thomas Lang, Chorus master


Aleksandrs Antonenko, Otello
Franco Farina (27.08), Otello
Barbara Di Castri, Emilia
Marina Poplavskaya, Desdemona
Maria Luigia Borsi (21.08), Desdemona
Carlos Álvarez, Jago
Nicola Alaimo (24.08), Jago
Stephen Costello, Cassio
Antonello Ceron, Roderigo
Mikhail Petrenko, Lodovico
Simone Del Savio, Montano
Andrea Porta, A herald

Salzburger Festspiele und Theater Kinderchor
Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus
Vienna Philharmonic


Otello is an intimate drama – a clear-eyed examination of the most destructive and negative of human emotions: jealousy and envy. But these emotions can only exist in relation to society.
The power of Venice was founded entirely on commerce and caste. To ensure that wealth remained concentrated in the noble families rather than dissipating down the generations, it was normal for only one son and one daughter in each family to marry. Others became business men or politicians, nuns or maiden aunts. With so many unmarried nobles abroad it is easy to imagine why Venice had an international reputation for sexual permissiveness.
The three main protagonists of the tragedy are all excluded from the centre of this society: Otello is foreign, seen as black, marked out by his cultural, linguistic, religious, and regional origins; Jago is not a nobleman; Desdemona has betrayed her noble family, and cut herself off, by marrying against her father's wishes. Cassio, by contrast, is firmly part of the establishment. Such a society is a fertile breeding-ground for the pernicious virus of jealousy – especially when the subject is a man who is an outsider, and for whom the inner workings of Venetian society remain a mystery, a vortex of nods and winks, while its morality is all too apparent.
Stephen Langridge