Verdi - Otello - Serafin

Verdi - Otello - Serafin

  • $39.99

The DVD is featured by original recording of the opera and NOT digitally re-mastered

Dramma Lirico in quattro atti di Arrigo Hoi to Produzione RAI Radiotelevisione Italiana

Otello Mario Del Monaco
J ago Renato Capecchi
Cassio Gino Mattera
Koderigo Athos Cesarini
Ivodovico Plinio Clabassi
Montano Nestore Catalani
Desdemona Rosanna Carteri
lunilia Luisella Ciaffi

Orchestra e Coro di Milano della Radiotelevisione Italiana
DireLtore Tullio Serafin

After recording Andrea Chenier in 1955 and fi Trouatore inl957 for RAI, the Italian national broadcaster, Del Monaco recorded Otello for RAI on 30 September 1958. Conducted by the magisterial Tullio Serafin, the performance also profited from direction by Franco Enriquez, who made the most of the limited resources available in those pioneering days of Italian television: using the rather modest studio scenery, he created an expressionist ambience of contrasting light and shadows, a dark and gloomy atmosphere that evoked the impending tragedy. He also made good use of the cast, all of whom were excellent actors capable of performing believably in frequent, long close-ups. (Del Monaco, to avoid appearing with an artificial beard in close-ups, had grown his own beard and mustache.) Here is the comment of one critic: For the cast one cannot but express complete satisfaction with every one of them. Mario Del Monaco, in the title role, was exceptionally striking as both actor and singer, demonstrating ajurther advance in penetration of the character. His "Esultate" and "Niun mi tema" offered, though in different ways, an accurate impression of the excellence of this famous tenor. He is now a worthy competitor of the greatest Othellos of the past. --Giorgio Gualerzi in Musica e Dischi (December 1958) Del Monaco's performance was supported by the charming Rosanna Carteri, an enchanting Desdemona in fine voice, and by Renato Capecchi, who played the role of Iago. His was an Iago in full compliance with Verdi's intentions, as the critic said: Iago with a jovial, frank, almost good-natured appearance..., quite lacking any distracting mephistophelean sneers and Satanic grimaces, a figure nonchalant, indifferent, one who speaks easily and well and gives the impression of never calculating his words in advance. Del Monaco presented a "white Othello": a cultivated, refined Moor, a noble knight and courtly lover. In this performance-only eight years after his debut (on 21 July 1950 at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires)~Del Monaco displayed an important change in the traditional interpretation of the character of Othello: Othello, originally a "physical" portrayal, had become instead increasingly "psychological": as experience refined my perception of the role, Othello's skin tended to whiten, his instincts to lose their primitive force and give way to the force of fate. Brought back from the instinctiveness and truculence attributed to him on the operatic stage in the past, my Othello was invested with a poetic, idealistic conception of love, a conception that culminates in the tragic but rational finale.... Not, then, "a savage with big lips" but a dark-skinned gentleman dressed like gentlemen in the paintings of Veronese and Titian... a magnanimous warrior from the Orient whom the Venetian senate might well choose to represent Venice in lands he had won for them through his valor: a great lord whose power is magnetic and imposing, whose deeds are never reckless or pointless but are instead always meaningful and essential. In this performance there was no bombast. The singers, including Gino Mattera and Athos Cesarini in supporting roles, displayed an overall acting style very different, in its taste and moderation, from the usual theatricality. In logical, compact dramatizations they depicted psychologically credible characters. Attentive to the exacting acting requirements of the role but also aware that television can communicate subtly what requires emphatic acting on stage, Del Monaco relied on changes of facial expression, small gestures, and effective, well-chosen movements. The New York Times critic Olin Downes wrote, "In addition to listening to Del Monaco, one must see him...." At his ease in romantic moments, in the intimate, tender atmosphere of the love duet, Del Monaco is a very moving Othello who feels beloved and who enfolds Desdemona in radiant, luminous warmth. "Othello," Del Monaco said, "is a man deeply in love who sings of love like Cavaradossi or Rodolfo though with a different, more imposing expression." In the second and third acts, in which there seem to be no vocal or acting difficulties for Othello, he is full of tension and suffering, and these feelings advance-inside him, one may say— to their logical climax. In the tension-filled duet with Desdemona, carefully planned video shots heighten the drama of her vulnerable femininity threatened by Othello's conflicting feelings-his face displaying disbelief, desperation, anger, attraction and repulsion, desire, yet inability to believe her. The look that escapes from his half-closed eyes is chilling. Del Monaco's rendering of the aria "Dio mi potevi scagliar" is the fruit of careful study: In portraying Othello I had to make prayer, anguish, dejection, and resignation to "the will of Heaven" Jelt in the abandoned, Jailing melodic line of the aria, in the abandonment of words and voice, and I even had to express physical abandon. Othello "sees" the roseate sweetness of the "mirage where I so gladly calmed my soul," and feels the most painful regret: "the light of that sun is extinguished...." But when repeated in the refrain, this line becomes loaded with hatred and violence. And "At the end mercy, immortal, holy genius," becomes a curse and culminates in a desperate, uncontrollable thirst for revenge.... Othello is a man very much in control of himself, a man able to keep the tangle of his feelings and impulses shut within, and it is this very ability which causes an excess of feeling to grow in him and then burst out when he is shown the presumed proof of his wife's infidelity. Thuslago will proclaim his triumph over Othello by exclaiming contemptuously, "Look at that lion!" With some light but very effective touches, Franco Enriquez in the fourth act hints at a resurgence of cultural atavism in Othello. The camera depicts him standing with noble dignity in front of the silhouette of a Moorish temple. But there is nothing primitive or tribal in his statuesque immobility. Unalterable determination may be read in the fixity of his gaze, shown in a long close-up at the end of the scene: a gaze filled with pure violence, penetrating like a knife-blade. But, approaching her sleeping alcove, Othello is still irresistibly attracted by the luminous beauty of the sleeping Desdemona: emerging from the darkness where we saw him, a shadowy figure, in silhouette, Othello approaches her with love and trembles—almost frightened by his feelings, and afraid he will abandon his purpose—as soon as he hears her voice. After he has killed her, the horrible truth destroys him. As Del Monaco says: Othello's sincerity and sense of justice had impelled him to be both judge and executioner of the creature he loved but deemed guilty, and now, after discovering his error, he turns these traits, this inexorable moral law, on himself. His never-wavering sincerity and sense of justice are the traits of a superior being. The aria "Niun mi tema..." depicts a tragic figure of high moral stature. "Morta, morta, morta..." (in which Del Monaco, criticized for sobbing in so- called verismo style, was in fact respecting Verdi's request here for "sounds lacking tonality") contains language rich with meaning; its final words-"a kiss..." -conclude this beautifully rounded aria with an incredible purity of intonation and melting sweetness. One curious feature of this recording—a feature that viewers of the original broadcast will remember—is the amusing "coda," which was cut from later re-broadcasts. Del Monaco, accustomed to having the curtain close at the end of a theatrical performance, after having been "dead," got up from the bed while the camera was still filming. Oh, the miracles of television! It was a memorable Otello: RAI's viewer survey at the time revealed that this performance was watched by 93% of that evening's television audience, the highest percentage of viewers ever garnered by a television broadcast. Taken from "MARIO DEL MONACO" (Parma, 2001) Ed. Elisabetta Romagnolo

Write a review

    Poor           Excellent
Note: HTML is not translated!