Posts Tagged ‘Otello’

Verdi’s Otello at the Electric Theatre

November 14, 2011

First staged at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Verdi’s Otello is based on Othello by William Shakespeare.

An introduction to Verdi’s opera Otello

Act I starts with the arrival of Otello during a storm. We were promised amazing thunder and lightning. Er no, a spluttering light bulb would have been more dramatic. I suggest they check out Magic Dancing Waters in Protaras, Cyprus.

I felt I was watching a badly performed school Christmas pantomime. Amateurish was the word that came to mind. And that is no criticism of Guildford Opera Company, more of Verdi.

The music pretty awful too.

When the lead singer opened her mouth and let rip I wanted to cover my ears, it was so dire. In fact most of the performance was an awful noise. I tried closing my eyes to see if it then sounded better with no visual distraction, but no.

The performance was in English not the original Italian. Why bother as apart from the odd phrase, it was not possible to tell the words and Italian is more melodic.

I knew the plot and so could follow, but if I had not known the plot, no, it it would have been impossible to follow. It was helpful having the bad guy colour-coded black.

The basic plot is Otello madly in love with his wife, and that is his weak spot, drip drip drip of poison in his ear and love turns to jealousy.

Can Shakespeare be improved upon? No!

This performance just did not compare with The Sixteen two weeks previous in Guildford Cathedral or the oratorio Re:Creation a couple of weeks before in Holy Trinity Church.

Hail, Mother of the Redeemer
Re:Creation

The stewards in the theatre acted like Gestapo. I checked a message on my phone during the interval (note during interval not performance) and had an extremely bright light shone in my eyes, which explains the bad headache I had later. Had I thought at the time I would have had sufficient grounds to bring action for common assault. People in the row in front of me tried to take a picture on their iPhone and got shouted at. The girl was trying to take a picture of Otello who was her father.

They need to lighten up. It is the norm these days to be able to take photos during performances, but not it seems at the Electric Theatre. People have paid to see a performance, something sad jobsworth seem to forget.

An introduction to Verdi’s opera Otello

October 26, 2011

The Guildford Opera Company are celebrating 40 years. As part of the 40 years they will be performing Verdi’s Otello in the Electric Theatre.

The stage director of the performance Jackie Shearer gave a talk on the opera at the Guildford Institute.

Otello is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Arrigo Boito, based on Shakespeare’s play Othello. It was Verdi’s penultimate opera, and was first performed at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan, on 5 February 1887.

Verdi is his notices for the opera described it as after the tragedy by William Shakespeare, or in other words based on or adapted from.

Otello is set in Cyprus, the Venetians have just kicked the Turks out of Cyprus.

In Act I Shakespeare sets the scene. But, Othello is a play with a very tight plot, not much to cut. Verdi cuts out the entire first Act. In Otello we open with a storm and a triumphant Otello returning to Cyprus. A very dramatic opening. We have lost the wooing of his wife, defeat of the Turks.

For Otello, his marriage and who he was married to gives him his status, attack that and you attack the man.

At the end of Act I we have a duo between Otello and his wife that explains how they met.

No one knows what evil the bastard who is plotting against them is capable of until it is too late.

Wife of Otello does not see what is happening, why her husband is becoming jealous. She has beauty, is loved by her people, but has no brains. She is a loving wife.

It all reaches a climax when Otello turns on his wife at a state banquet.

The talk was illustrated with musical extracts.

The opera will be staged at the Electric Theatre. A small intimate theatre which has its own problems. The orchestra has to be scaled back, but it should be mush easier to hear and understand the singers.

Even with a full house the performance will make a loss.

GLive was highlly criticised by everyone as being a bad venue for anything. Input from people who wish to use the venue was ignored.