Zubin Mehta (photo: Monika Rittershaus)

Zubin Mehta conducts “Otello”

Mit Otello erreichte der 75-jährige Giuseppe Verdi noch einmal eine neue künstlerische Ebene. Keine andere seiner Opern ist von solcher Stringenz und dramatischen Wucht, bis hin zum mörderischen Finale. Nach Aufführungen bei den Osterfestspielen Baden-Baden präsentieren die Berliner Philharmoniker ihre Lesart der düster-expressiven Partitur nun dem Berliner Publikum, gemeinsam mit einem prominenten Sängerensemble und Dirigent Zubin Mehta.

Berliner Philharmoniker

Zubin Mehta conductor

Arsen Soghomonyan tenor

Sonya Yoncheva soprano (Desdemona)

Luca Salsi baritone (Jago)

Anna Malavasi mezzo-soprano (Emilia)

Francesco Demuro tenor (Cassio)

Gregory Bonfatti tenor (Roderigo)

Giovanni Furlanetto bass (Montano)

Federico Sacchi bass (Lodovico)

Mathias Tönges bass

Rundfunkchor Berlin

Gijs Leenaars chorus master

Childrens' Choir of the Deutsche Oper Berlin

Christian Lindhorst chorus master

Giuseppe Verdi


Dates and Tickets

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Thu, 25 Apr 2019, 19:00

Philharmonie | Introduction: 18:00

Serie A


Giuseppe Verdi’s Shakespeare opera Otello, premiered at La Scala in Milan in 1887, starts with an unparalleled musical bang: when the curtain rises, a storm depicted by the most sophisticated instrumental and vocal means rages off the coast of Cyprus – and already hints at the deadly passions that are ignited in the course of the drama. Sixteen years had passed since the premiere of Aida, which was composed for the opening of the Suez Canal, when Verdi once again returned to composing operas with Otello. Devastating criticism had meant that Verdi – apart from revisions of Simon Boccanegra and Don Carlos – no longer wanted to compose other stage works. “I would just hear again that I was not able to write and was a follower of Wagner,” the composer explained in a letter in 1878: “A fine result! After almost 40 years of musicianship, to end up as an imitator.” Only after the publisher Giulio Ricordi proposed a collaboration with the writer and composer Arrigo Boito did Verdi consider a new opera project. Seven years of intensive work together was to pass between Boito’s first sketch for Otello and Verdi’s completion of the compositional work.

Verdi ultimately decided against the original idea of naming their joint work “Iago” after the sinister villain of Shakespeare’s play: “He is (it is true) the demon who moves everything,” argued the composer, “but Otello is the one who acts. He loves, is jealous, kills and kills himself.” It is undoubtedly also thanks to his librettist that Verdi was able to open a new chapter in the history of Italian opera with Otello, for Boito, with a text that broke away from the traditions of Italian librettistics of that time, first created the possibilities for Verdi’s musically innovative setting of the Shakespearean jealousy drama.

A few days after staged performances at the Easter Festival in Baden-Baden, the Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by Zubin Mehta, present two concert performances of Verdi’s late work at the Philharmonie with the conductor and a top-class ensemble of singers. The choral role, which ranges from the stormy beginning of the opera to lyrical passages, is taken by the Rundfunkchor Berlin, an established musical partner of the Berliner Philharmoniker.

Zubin Mehta (photo: Monika Rittershaus)