Gioacchino Rossini



Opera in three acts performed in Italian (with Slovak subtitles)

Libretto Francesco Berio di Salsa

The historical SND building
Othello is a brilliant oeuvre dating to 1816, thus falling within the period of early Romantic Italian opera. It is based on French adaptation of the eponymous Shakespeare drama. Since the composer Gioacchino Rossini and the librettist Francesco Beria di Salsa never saw the original English drama, the storyline evolves differently that actually written by the Elizabethan playwright. We are relocated from Cyprus to Venice, a number of characters are of different nature and role within the story that is quite schematic: Two tenors compete for the hand of the primadona.
Othello wasn’t too well received, particularly at the outset, in the Anglophone world. In 1818 Lord Byron even wrote: “They chased Othello all the way to the opera and crucified him. The score is a real bet – find six tenors, a soprano, mezzo-soprano and a base.” Despite such criticism, Othello was to enjoy glory, even globally. Even Verdi approached the oeuvre a few decades later, as he composed his own Othello (premièred in 1887) with utmost respect: he was aware that his opera would be critically compared with Rossini’s. Though that Verdi’s Othello passed through the test more successfully doesn’t change the fact that Rossini’s Othello represents a major milestone in the evolution of the 19th-century music drama. At the same time, it is among the key works that gave rise, in the 2nd half of the 20th century, to the Rossini renaissance – the rediscovery of unknown oeuvres by the great master. That continues until the present day. The State Opera joins in by staging the gem in the world’s operatic opus.
The production by the State Opera that premièred in 2019 is the first-ever in Slovakia. The oeuvre was presented as one of exclusive vocal qualities of the performers, which was highly commended by critics as well. In the extremely challenging vocal passages, the Chinese tenor Zi Zhao-Guo and the young Slovak soprano Mariana Hochelová deliver what is bound to be the perfomances of life. The oeuvre has been musically prepared and is conducted by Marián Vach, as directed by Andrea Hlinková. Costumes have been designed by the acclaimed Slovak couturier Boris Hanečka, and set design comes from Miriam Struhárová.
Musical preparation: Marián Vach
Conductor: Marián Vach
Directed by: Andrea Hlinková
Set design: Miriam Struhárová
Costumes design: Boris Hanečka
Chorus Master: Ján Procházka
Dramaturgy: Alžbeta Lukáčová
Otello: Zi-Zhao Guo
Desdemona: Mariana Hochelová
Elmiro: Ivan Zvarík
Rodrigo: Dušan Šimo
Jago: Peter Malý
Emilia: Jarmila Balážová
Doge: Karol Kurtulík
Lucio: Tomáš Dedič
Un Gondoliere: Tomáš Dedič
Also featuring: State Opera chorus and orchestra
Concert Master: Oldřich Husák
Running time: 160 minutes, including one interval