Otello : Work information
- Giuseppe (Fortunino Francesco) Verdi ( Music, Images,)
- Performed by
- Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine, Alain Lombard (Conductor)
- Work name
- Work number
- 1887-01-01 02:00:00
- Forlane CI
- Ivan Pastor
- Jean-Marc Laisné
- Recording date
Giuseppe (Fortunino Francesco) Verdi
Verdi was born into a humble family of small landowners and taverners. At the age of seven he was helping the local church organist, with whom he later studied in nearby Busseto. He became the organist’s assistant in 1829. He already had several compositions under his belt when, in 1832, he was sent to Milan. Unfortunately, Verdi was refused a place at the Conservatory and instead studied with Vincenzo Lavigna, a composer and former La Scala musician. In 1835 Verdi returned to Busseto where he was passed over as maestro di cappella but became town music master in 1836. There he married Margherita Barezzi, his patron’s daughter.
Verdi had trouble getting his works performed or published, but he decided to settle in Milan in 1839 where the opera Oberto was finally performed at La Scala and further operas commissioned. It went well, but his next opera, Un Giorno di Regno, failed totally, and his wife died during its composition. Their two children had died as babies, and the combined effect brought Verdi’s composition to a halt. However, he read the libretto for Nabucco and decided to write an opera on it. It was performed in 1842 and over the next five years his fame spread across Europe and America.
Following more successes, the period Verdi later called his “years in the galleys” now began. His success meant a lot of work, with a long and demanding series of commissioned operas to compose and usually direct. Between 1844 and 1850 Verdi wrote 11 operas which were performed in Paris, London, Rome, Milan, Naples, Venice, Florence and Trieste, with a break in 1846 when he became ill. Between 1851 and 1853, Verdi produced his most popular operas, Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, and La Traviata, the most personal and intimate of Verdi’s operas. The first two were well received, but La Traviata was a failure in Venice.
Verdi had been living with the soprano Giuseppina Strepponi for several years, and they moved to Paris, where another opera, Les Vêpres Siciliennes was performed. Verdi and Giuseppina married in 1859.
Back in Italy, Verdi was involved in politics (The movement for Italian unity) as representative of Busseto (where he now lived). He was later elected to the National Parliament, and ultimately he became a Senator. In 1862 La Forza del Destino had its premiere at St. Petersburg. A revised Macbeth was performed in Paris in 1865, and after Don Carlos in Paris in 1867, Verdi returned to Italy, to live at Genoa.
In his last years, Verdi composed less and less opera, preferring to write works such as his 1873 string quartet and the Requiem , though he did write Aida, performed in 1871, and Otello , completed in 1886. He spent his last years in Milan, rich and happy. When he died in 1901, 28,000 people lined the streets for his funeral. Altogether he composed 32 operas, many of which hold high positions in the world of opera today. Verdi founded the Rest Home for Musicians in Milan which he opened a few weeks before his death.
MIDI FILE - From "Nabucco": Overture (7'37'')
- Act I Scene 1 - 'Una vela! Una vela!' 4:05 min
- Act I Scene 1 - 'Esultate!' 2:08 min
- Act I Scene 1 - 'Roderigo, ebben, che pensi?' 2:06 min
- Act I Scene 1 - 'Fuoco, di gioia...' 2:49 min
- Act I Scene 1 - 'Roderigo, beviam!' 1:14 min
- Act I Scene 1 - 'Qua, ragazzi, del vino!' 4:02 min
- Act I Scene 1 - 'Capitano, v'attende la fazione al baluardi...' 1:17 min
- Act I Scene 2 - 'Abasso le spade!' 3:47 min
- Act I Scene 3 - 'Giá nella notte densa...' 1:45 min
- Act I Scene 3 - 'Quando narravi l'esule tua vita…' 7:24 min
- Act II Scene 1 - 'Non ti crucciar...' 2:52 min
- Act II Scene 2 - 'Credo in un Dio crudel…' 4:07 min
- Act II Scene 2 - 'Eccola..Cassio..a te...' 1:10 min
- Act II Scene 3 - 'Ció m'accora...' 3:59 min
- Act II Scene 3 - 'Dove guardi splendono raggi, avvampan cuori...' 4:55 min
- Act II Scene 4 - 'D'un uom che geme sotto il tuo disdegno...' 1:54 min
- Act II Scene 4 - 'Se inconscia contro te sposo...' 3:00 min
- Act II Scene 5 - 'Desdemona rea!' 1:37 min
- Act II Scene 5 - 'Ora e per sempre addio, sante memorie...' 3:15 min
- Act II Scene 5 - 'Era la notte mamoreo giuro!' 3:49 min
- Act II Scene 5 - 'Si pel ciel mamoreo giuro!' 3:07 min
- Act III Scene 1 - 'La vedetta del porto ha segnalato...' 2:37 min
- Act III Scene 2 - 'Dio ti giocondi...' 9:39 min
- Act III Scene 3-4 - 'Dio! Mio potevi scagliar...Ah! Dannazione!' 4:00 min
- Act III Scene 5 - 'Vieni l'aula é deserta...' 3:28 min
- Act III Scene 5 - 'Questa é una ragna...' 1:47 min
- Act III Scene 6 - 'Come la uccideró?' 1:13 min
- Act III Scene 7 - 'Viva! Evviva! Viva il Leon di San Marco...' 3:26 min
- Act III Scene 8-9 - 'Messeri! Il Doge...' 1:43 min
- Act III Scene 8-9 - 'A terra...si...nel livido fango...' 6:58 min
- Act III Scene 8-9 - 'Fuggirmi io sol non so...Sangue!' 1:56 min
- Act IV Scene 1 - 'Era più calmo?' 3:29 min
- Act IV Scene 1 - 'Mia madre avea una povera ancella...' 7:51 min
- Act IV Scene 2 - 'Ave Maria...' 7:12 min
- Act IV Scene 3-4 - 'Chi è là? Otello?' 3:51 min
- Act IV Scene 3-4 - 'Aprite! Aprite!' 2:02 min
- Act IV Scene 3-4 - 'Quai grida! Orrore! Orror!' 1:19 min
- Act IV Scene 3-4 - 'Niun mi tema...' 5:50 min
Verdi's penultimate opera, Otello, is one of his greatest. Shakespeare's great tragedy was first suggested to the composer as a subject in June of 1879, and by November Boito had already provided him with a libretto. Verdi delayed starting the project, however, choosing to revise Simon Boccanegra and Don Carlos first. After the latter was performed in 1884, Verdi turned back to Otello and completed the majority of the opera by October 1885. It had its first performance at La Scala in February 1887.
Displaying a mastery of form, an inspirational portrayal of character, and inventive orchestration, Otello is the work of a supremely accomplished composer. Along with Falstaff, it represents the culmination of Verdi's career and has become justly famous and respected.
Highlights include Iago's evil creed Credo in un Dio crudel (I believe in a cruel God), the great Act I love duet, Gia nella notte densa s'estingue ogni clamor (Already in dark night every sound is stilled), and Desdemona's moving 'willow' song Piangea cantando.