Thursday, October 25, 2012

Reunite with Verdi through 'Otello'

Since Opera Carolina's season doesn't include Giuseppe Verdi, his fans will have to get their fixes elsewhere -- such as the Metropolitan Opera, which  broadcasts "Otello" into movie theaters Saturday. As usual, the Charlotte-area locations are Stonecrest, near Ballantyne, and Concord Mills

The operatic meeting of masters -- Verdi and Shakespeare -- also features Renee Fleming's return to a role that helped make her a star. When she portrayed the grievously wronged Desdemona opposite Placido Domingo's Moor in a Met telecast in 1996 -- only a few years into her career -- legions of viewers succumbed to her sumptuous voice and affecting presence. (Arts lovers in the Carolinas were ahead of the game on that, though, if they caught Fleming's two-year stint at the Spoleto Festival USA in 1989 and '90, playing the Countess in Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro.")

Saturday's Otello will be the South African tenor Johan Botha. At the opening of this run of performances earlier in October, he performed despite being under the weather, and the strain  reportedly showed. Let's hope he's in better health now. When I saw Botha in the title role of Verdi's "Don Carlo" at the Met in 2006, his power and finesse were equally compelling. If that's any indication, he should have Otello in him. 

(Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)