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Posted October 1, 2010
I know this has been out a while, but I'm just coming around to now it as I'm learning Otello's arias. All I have to say is "WOW"! This recording has just sent Verdi's Otello into my top five favorite opera list! What and extremely well put together production. There isn't one role or singer that isn't at the absolute top of his or her game. Myung-Whun Chung leads his Parisian forces thru Verdi's complicated score with grace and power. Some may find his interpretation of Verdi's score markings to be a little non-trad, but Chung keeps the drama going and the tension high, even if his tempos are a touch closer to breakneck speed than is generally heard. The title role is taken by the peerless Placido Domingo in his third assumption of Shakespeare's Moor on disc. On this recording more than his others, Domingo truly gets under the skin of Otello, breathing life into one of the greatest characters in all of literature and opera. His rich, dark voice is perfect for the low tessitura and heroic range of the part. Only in a few places do we get the feeling that the voice is at full thorttle, but becasue of his superb technique and ringing head voice, Domingo is able to cut through the heavy orchestration without resorting to too much forcing of the tone. Cheryl Studer is in top form as Desdemona. The duet "gia ella notte e densa" she sings with Domingo is so full of tenderness that you just can't help falling in love with her. She sounds on this recording like she never stretched her voice beyond its limits singing Wagner. Here is the beautiful line and easy vibrato of a younger Chery Studer, a Mozartean Cheryl Studer. Her "Ave Maria" and "Willow Song" are just beautiful. The Jago of Russian baritone Sergei Leiferkus is the best interpretation of the character I have ever heard. His bright, piercing baritone may not be to everyone's liking, but the snarl and bite he brings to the vocal line contrasted with the smoothness of tone he is also capable of producing is incredible. The supporting cast is every bit as stellar. Ramon Vargas lends his effortless tenor to Cassio, while Denyce Graves and Ildebrando d'Arcangelo provide Emilia and Lodovigo with plenty of aplomb and richness of sound. This surely is one of the best recordings of this great opera, if not one of the greatest operatic recordings ever made. You must buy it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.