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|John MacFarlane||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Ángela Álvarez Rilla||Producer|
|Antoni Ros-Marbà||Musical Direction/Supervision|
Posted October 1, 2010
Finally a tenor has stepped forward as the heir to Domingo's throne as Verdi's Moor of Venice. Jose Cura seems made for this part. His dark, baritonal tenor is perfectly suited to the heroic music of the title character. He sings the murderous opening 'Esultate' (thanks Mr. Verdi for giving us tenors such a difficult thing to sing for our first appearance in the opera!) as if it were written a third lower. From this opening moment on, Cura simply dominates with his voice and his magnetic and intense stage presence. He is a very comitted actor and brings so much character to the role. He sings the first part of 'Dio! Mi potevi' lying on his back then rises to his knees for the first of two climactic B-flats in the aria. His reading of 'Niun me tema' at the end of the opera brought tears to my eyes. Clearly this is a role that he loves performing and feels a strong connexion with. His fellow cast members don't quite have the star power or stage elan of the tenor, but are quite good. Lado Ataneli's Jago is more singer than acotr, but his scenes with Cura are very good. His monologue 'Credo in un Dio crudel' is very well sung, however, one can see that his is just going through the blocking he was given by the staging director rather than letting the emotions of the song motivate his movements. Vittorio Grigolo (yes, that Vittorio--the one who is on the Groban/Bocelli track. He's better then both of them, by the way.) is marvelous as Cassio. His handsome voice and appearance are more than enough to inspire jealosy in Cura's Otello. He is also very good on stage. The Desdemona of Krassimira Stoyanova is slightly more brittle, more girlish, more vulnerable than that of Rene Fleming's stronger, more womanly portrayal, it just depends on how one wishes to see the character. Stoyanova is a haunted, hunted Desdemona who, like Anateli, is at her best when Cura is on stage with her. Their 'Notte densa" love duet is superb. Her 'Salce/Ave Maria' scene is tender and sad, as is her death. Opus Arte really leads the way as far as production and packaging their opera DVDs. One does wish, sadly for more "special feature" content. The single five- or ten-minute series of interviews with the artistic producer and Cura just aren't enough for the true fan. Still, Opus Arte is one of the few publishing companies that even provides special content. All in all, the Kultur Video release of Otello on DVD with Domingo, Leiferkus, and Te Kanawa is still a pretty clear first choice, particularly if you are new to the work. The staging for this Opus Arte release is very conceptual and not everyone will cotton to it, but the singing-- especially from Cura--is not to be missed and on the strength of that alone this is one worth considering.
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