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Here is the “other” Otello – the 1816 opera by Rossini that was swept aside by Verdi’s 1887 version. It’s a sophisticated and expressive work, with no fewer than three tenors (Otello, Iago and Rodrigo) and some ravishing ensembles.
This DVD documents Bartoli’s Desdemona in an intelligent, modern-dress staging at Zurich in 2012, directed by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier and conducted by Muhai Tang. The Italian diva reminds us that, behind the virtuosic vocal lines, Rossini characterised his heroine with feeling, while John Osborn, Edgardo Rocha and Javier Camarena make a stylish trio of tenors.
The performance deserves to bring Rossini’s under-sung achievement to the widest possible audience.