Sets, props and costumes from a production of the Wiener Staatsoper, 2019
(Sets, props and costumes manufactured by ART for ART Theaterservice GmbH, Vienna)
Duration: Three hours including intermission
On the island of Cyprus, Venetian officers and the Cypriot populace are awaiting the arrival of Otello, the Moor governor from Venice, whose ship is battling a violent storm. The storm subsides and Otello lands, to the joy of the crowd. Only Iago and Roderigo do not share the general happiness. Iago is bitter because Otello has named Cassio his lieutenant, instead of Iago; and Roderigo is unhappy because he is in love with Desdemona, Otello’s wife. Iago is already plotting his revenge, and when Cassio appears, Iago and Roderigo make him drunk, and then provoke a duel with Montano. Otello, summoned by the brawling, dismisses Cassio from his service. Desdemona arrives, and when all have gone, she and Otello again declare their love.
Iago, now Otello’s confidant, continues his plotting. He advises Cassio to ask Desdemona to intercede with Otello for the disgraced officer’s pardon. The Moor sees Cassio with his wife, and Iago plants the seed of jealousy, which grows as Desdemona pleads with her husband to forgive their old friend Cassio. Iago takes a handkerchief of Desdemona from his wife, Emilia, who is Desdemona’s companion. Later he will use it as evidence. When he and Otello are alone, he tells how he heard Cassio talk in his sleep about Desdemona, as if the two of them were lovers. Otello vows vengeance, and Iago swears to assist him and to furnish him with proof.
Ambassadors are coming from Venice. Before they arrive, Desdemona again broaches the subject of Cassio, and Otello openly accuses her of adultery. Later he spies on a meeting between Iago and Cassio, who displays a handkerchief he has mysteriously found in his room. It is Desdemona’s, placed there by Iago. Otello cannot hear the two men’s words, but the sight of the handkerchief convinces him. When he receives the ambassadors, he cannot restrain his jealous fury and, in front of all, insults his wife and hurls her to the floor. Iago feels that his triumph is near.
Desdemona is preparing for bed. As Emilia assists her, she sings a sad song about unhappy love. Emilia leaves; Desdemona prays and then goes to bed. Otello enters and warns her that he has come to kill her and demands her to atone for all her sins. She protests her innocence, but he refuses to believe her and strangles her. Emilia knocks, then bursts in to tell Otello that Roderigo, who, according to Iago's plot, was to kill Cassio, has been killed. Cassio lives. Desdemona moans, Emilia cries out in horror, and others come in, including Iago, whose villainy is revealed. Iago flees, pursued by the others, and Otello kills himself over Desdemona's lifeless body.
Back Stage Secrets at the Opera Many Opportunities to Widen your Opera Experience
Do you want to know more about the opera you are about to attend? Do you want to find out some back stage secrets? Do you want to meet the artists after the performance? The Israeli Opera enables you to widen your opera experience with a variety of pre performance and post-performance events.
Pre Performance Lecture One hour before each opera performance there is a 30-minute introductory lecture in the auditorium (in Hebrew). Opera staffers present the opera and the production and enable the audience to get some extra information a short time before attending the performances. Admission is free for ticket holders.
Opera Talkback The curtain has just descended on the final scene of the opera. The hour is late. Nut the experience was riveting. This is the time to meet several of the performers. Come to listen and to speak. Ask questions. Meet the artists. A once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the artists who have just excited you on the stage. Opera Talkbacks takes place on the second level of the Opera House foyer and last around 30 minutes. Admission free. Opera Talkback takes place on several evenings in each production. Details can be found at the Israeli opera’s website.