Verdi: Otello

  • Catalogue Number LSO0700
    UPC 822231170020

    James Mallinson producer
    Jonathan Stokes and Neil Hutchinson for Classic Sound Ltd balance engineers

    Recorded December 2009, Barbican, London

    DSD (Direct Stream Digital) recording
    Notes and synopsis in English / en français / auf Deutsch
    Includes complete libretto in Italian and English

  • Editor’s Choice 'Gerald Finley gives a masterful account of the part (Iago) ... the chorus is exceptionally precise and expressive, the playing is alert and sensitive to drama and text.' Gramophone

    'Colin Davis gets the LSO, in shattering form, to play chords like cannon shots. The two male leads are superb: Simon O’Neill is the most complete Otello since Domingo, and some of his grandest passages are deeply stirring; Gerald Finley’s debut as Iago is also a great reading – the most chilling I have ever heard.' BBC Music Magazine

    ‘The whole thing just feels so alive and in the best sense ... the dramatic shape he [Davis] makes is so constant and clear and engaging, it just feels like everyone involved is participating wholly in the excitement of this piece of music theatre ... It has that feeling of the excitement of discovery for him [O’Neill] and throwing himself at the part but with complete control and musicianship, and you couldn’t have a better pairing than him with Gerald Finley who is a tremendous singing actor and whose Iago is scary. They’re both absolutely terrific ... The whole thing is tremendous. What you want in a production like this is the sense of it being live with the music theatre being generated on all sides and feeding back in and there’s such a presence about it. A wonderful recording and a wonderful testament of and to this opera and performance. It must have been wonderful to be at the Barbican and thank God you can get it on CD. And it does sound fantastic – the dynamic range they’ve captured is tremendous.’ BBC Radio 3 CD Review

    ‘A spellbinding account, thanks to O’Neill, Anne Schwanewilms’s Desdemona and Gerald Finley’s Jago, but above all to Colin Davis’s warm, urgent but never forced interpretation.’ The Observer

    ‘Davis’s electrifying conducting keeps the temperature high throughout this gripping performance, recorded live at the Barbican in 2009. Simon O’Neill makes a powerful and confident debut in the title role, well matched against Gerald Finley’s subtle and sneaky Iago ... front-runner in the field.’ Daily Telegraph

    ‘Immensely powerful ... Unlike Domingo, O’Neill sings the repeated A flats of Dio mi potevi as Verdi demands and throughout his clarion tone is thrilling. But the heroes are Gerald Finley, a supremely malignant Iago, the superb orchestra and chorus, and Colin Davis, who makes the terror and pity in the opera almost unbearably vivid.’ Sunday Times

    'An insightful and revealing account ... The strong cast offers the virile tenor Simon O’Neill as Otello, the rich-voiced soprano Anne Schwanewilms as Desdemona and the compelling baritone Gerard Finley as an uncommonly intelligent Iago. In his lean, crackling performance Davis offers an alternative to the more typical approach of Verdi conductors who favor richer, darker orchestral textures and weightier voices for Otello and Iago. [The LSO] play brilliantly for him ... For devotees of the opera it will be a must.'
    New York Times

£14.99

Sir Colin Davis, London Symphony Orchestra


Verdi had retired from opera following the premiere of Aida in 1871 but was eventually persuaded by his publisher to work with the librettist Arrigo Boito. As with Falstaff, Verdi’s final opera on which they would subsequently collaborate, they turned to Shakespeare for inspiration. Otello, which was premiered in 1887, marked a significant evolutionary development in Italian opera and is widely regarded as one of the great operatic masterpieces.


Composer   Verdi
Conductor   Sir Colin Davis
Performers   London Symphony Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra
Soloists   Simon O'Neill, Gerald Finley, Anne Schwanewilms, Allan Clayton, Ben Johnson, Alexander Tsymbalyuk, Matthew Rose, Lukas Jakobski, Eufemla Tufano

Track list
Disc 1
1. Otello : Act I, Scene I, Storm: "Una vela! Una vela" (Coro, Montano, Cassio, Jago, Roderigo)
2. Otello : Act I, Scene II, "Esultate" (Otello, Coro)
3. Otello : Act I, Scene III, "Roderigo, ebben, che pensi" (Jago, Roderigo)
4. Otello : Act I, Scene IV, "Fuoco di gioia!" (Coro)
5. Otello : Act I, Scene V, "Roderigo, beviam" (Jago, Cassio, Coro, Roderigo)
6. Otello : Act I, Scene VI, "I naffia l'ugola" (Jago, Cassio, Roderigo, Coro)
7. Otello : Act I, Scene VII, "Capitano, v'attende" (Montano, Cassio, Jago, Roderigo, Coro)
8. Otello : Act I, Scene VIII, "Va al porto" (Jago, Coro, Otello, Cassio, Montano)
9. Otello : Act I, Scene IX, "Gia nella notte densa" (Otello, Desdemona)
10. Otello : Act II, Scene I, "Non ti crucciar" (Jago, Cassio)
11. Otello : Act II, Scene II, "Credo in un Dio crudel" (Jago)
12. Otello : Act II, Scene III, "Cio m'accora" (Jago, Otello)
13. Otello : Act II, Scene IV, Flower Chorus: "Un tal proposto" (Jago, Coro, Fanciulli, Desdemona, Otello)
14. Otello : Act II, Scene V, "D'un uom che gemme" (Desdemona, Otello)
15. Otello : Act II, Scene VI, "Dammi la dolce" (Desdemona, Otello, Jago, Emilia)
16. Otello : Act II, Scene VII, "Ora e per sempre addio" (Otello, Jago)
17. Otello : Act II, Scene VIII, "Era la notte" (Jago, Otello)
18. Otello : Act II, Scene IX, "Si, pel ciel" (Otello, Jago)

Disc 2
1. Otello : Act III, Scene I, Prelude
2. Otello : Act III, Scene II, "La vedetta del porto" (Araldo, Otello, Jago, Desdemona)
3. Otello : Act III, Scene III, "Esterrefatta" (Desdemona, Otello)
4. Otello : Act III, Scene IV, "Dio! mi potevi scagliar tutti i mali" (Otello, Lago)
5. Otello : Act III, Scene V, "Vieni, l'aula e deserta" (Jago, Cassio, Otello)
6. Otello : Act III, Scene VI, "Bada" (Jago, Cassio, Otello, Coro, Lodovico, Desdemona, Emilia, Roderigo)
7. Otello : Act III, Scene VII, "Messeri!" (Otello, Jago, Cassio, Lodovico)
8. Otello : Act III, Scene VIII, "A terra! ....si" (Desdemona, Emilia, Cassio, Roderigo, Lodovico, Otello, Jago, Coro)
9. Otello : Act IV, Scene I, Prelude: "Era piu calmo?" (Emilia, Desdemona)
10. Otello : Act IV, Scene II, "Piangea cantando" (Desdemona)
11. Otello : Act IV, Scene III, "Ave Maria" (Desdemona)
12. Otello : Act IV, Scene IV, "Chi e la?" (Desdemona, Otello)
13. Otello : Act IV, Scene V, "Diceste questa sera" (Otello, Desdemona, Emilia)
14. Otello : Act IV, Scene VI, "O mentitrice!" (Otello, Emilia, Cassio, Jago, Lodovico, Montano)
15. Otello : Act IV, Scene VII, "Niun mi tema" (Otello, Cassio, Lodovico, Montano)

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