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Less thrilling is Otello, filmed at the Met in 2012. Elijah Moshinsky’s lavish production is now reduced after many a revival to traffic cop direction, and the chorus is so huge that extended swathes of orchestral work are obliterated – a shame considering Semyon Bychkov’s mastery of the score when you can hear it. Johan Botha sails impassively through the vocal challenges until he reaches ‘Dio! mio potevi scagliar’, which seems to jolt him into character. (And blackface today, really?!) Renée Fleming scoops and slithers gorgeously and annoyingly through Desdemona’s music until she delivers an exemplary Willow Song. Falk Struckmann’s bluff baritone tries to liven things up from the start but he’s on a losing wicket, and Michael Fabiano is a deluxe Cassio. Generally the performance has an air of business as usual about it. Thank goodness the Met is replacing the production next season.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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