(Previous section here.)
The person whose face is on the front of the DVD box is Plácido Domingo, and he certainly deserves to be there. He’s definitely operating in the ‘conventional heroic/tragic Romantic tenor’ mode, but whether one likes that style or not it’s hard to have too strong an opinion about it because the guy sounds so damn good. (This is completely irrelevant, but you know how there was some discussion a while back of how tall a certain soprano is? Well, Domingo’s fans are apparently all over that question as far as he is concerned – when I googled him just now, one of the things that pops up in the info from Wikipedia is that he is 6’2″/ 1.87 meters tall, which would put him at about 1.09 VKs. For the record.)
I enjoyed the aforementioned Iago/Otello duet in Act II, but I also got sucked into Act IV (where Otello, having fallen for Iago’s deceptions, kills the innocent Desdemona) partly because of Domingo, but also because of Kiri Te Kanawa. Here is the willow song, which Te Kanewa sings with both gentleness and complete control – the subtle little dynamic variations are lovely:
When I was watching this I kept thinking whether I would want to see a hardcore Regie version of Otello or not. I mean, obviously, if someone knocked on my office door and said “hey earwormopera, they’re doing Otello at the student center tonight – it’s kind of regie, but do you want to go?” I would 1. wonder if I was about to be the victim of some kind of insane practical joke/hazing ritual and 2. go anyway, on the offchance that there really was Regie Verdi afoot and somehow I had missed all the fliers.
But that aside, I’m not sure. The libretto is pretty specific about Venice and things – but it’s not like there are no timeless themes in this opera. The fact that I am both curious and a little apprehensive makes me think it would probably be a good idea.