White Nightshirt Monday: Nights in White Satin

[Cecilia Bartoli (Desdemona) in Rossini’s “Otello”, Zurich 2012.]

This “Otello” is definitely worth watching. Not just for the wondrous things that Cecilia Bartoli does with the Willow Song. There’s also the way she rocks the Act II finale. And there’s beer involved, too, so that’s already one lesbian plus point.

And even though this “Otello” story is a bit off – it has no tissues, three tenors in love with Bartoli (sorry, guys – I feel your oain, but the end of the line is waaaay back there), and, in this case, a Carmen-like murder without a proper suicide at the end – it has lots of glorious coloratura, some of the best of it between two tenors.

Then it causes inappropriate giggles over poor Rodrigo’s love woes, since his “Ah, come mai non senti” is composed on exactly the line that Rossini (if it was him) also used for the “Duetto buffo di due gatti”, so I was thinking “meeooow!” the entire time, though the aria delivery would have deserved some more serious appreciation. Both Javier Camarena (Rodrigo) and John Osborn (Otello) were amazing. And then, of course, this opera has not one, but two mezzos. With subtext. Especially in this production – thank you, Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier.

More about that subtext later this week; for now, try to catch the medici.tv webast while it is still available for free. I could watch it without registering or singing up, simply amplifying to full screen and enjoying 2:50h of fantastic Rossini with a fantastic Bartoli. The little black dress didn’t hurt, either. Neither did the white nightshirt.

4 thoughts on “White Nightshirt Monday: Nights in White Satin”

    1. Well, he stabs himself, but is still alive and being kicked around by the time the curtain falls – or that is how I saw it (the libretto is also a little shy of naming the suicide as such, perhaps they played it off that vague “reunion” line? nothing like “ho un’arma ancor”).

      Despite the vagueness, I find the Rossini set-up for the finale is a lot more cruel – with pardon, peace and marriage being offered while Desdemona is already dead.


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