Libretto by Arrigo Boito, after William Shakespeareґs tragedy Othello, or The Moor of Venice
New production of Giuseppe Verdi’s penultimate opera Otello. Specially for this new theatre, stage director Vasily Barkhatov and designer Zinovy Margolin have created a new stage version of the 2007 production.
Otello was first performed at the Mariinsky Theatre in 1887 with Nikolai Figner in the title role, just a few months after the world premiere of the opera at the Teatro alla Scala. Over the course of the 20th century the theatre staged five new productions of this opera, each time with wonderful performers in the title role: Ivan Yershov (1929), Nikolai Pechkovsky (1938), Vladimir Galuzin (1991 and 2007) and Alexei Steblianko (1996). It was as Otello that Russian audiences first saw Plácido Domingo in the Mariinsky Theatre’s production in 1992. The title role in the premiere of the 2013 production will be performed by the acclaimed lyric dramatic tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko, who made his debut as Otello at the Salzburg Festival. Alexei Markov will make his debut as Iago on 22 December.
Stage director Vasily Barkhatov sees everyday people in Shakespeare’s characters: “The main thing is that it is about normal people. Between Otello and Desdemona what is important is the difference in their cultures, not the difference in the colour of their skin or their age. Otello is a man of his own makeup, with his own life’s principles, somewhat wild. And Desdemona is a completely European woman with a liberal European education, much more free.
“Iago knows neither devotion nor hatred. He’s just a man of the system. A grey man who has a certain business plan for the near future. The kind of man who says ‘It’s nothing personal, it’s just business.’ He sees his goal and goes for it whatever the cost. He makes no superfluous moves. It’s just that his sequence of actions has to lead to a specific result.”