Verdi’s late masterpiece based on Otello, Shakespeare’s tragic drama of jealousy and deceit, airs on THIRTEEN’S Great Performances at the Met Sunday, February 21 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local schedule; in New York, THIRTEEN will air the opera at 12:30 p.m.)
Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher’s acclaimed new production is led by dynamic conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin with Aleksandrs Antonenko in his first Met performance as the tormented Moor of Venice, with Sonya Yoncheva in her role debut as his innocent wife, Desdemona.
Also featuring Željko Lučić as Otello’s sinister rival, Iago, Dimitri Pittas as Cassio, and Günther Groissböck as Lodovico, this staging marks the Met debut of set designer Es Devlin, whose previous designs include the 2014 revival of Machinal on Broadway and numerous opera productions for Covent Garden, La Scala, and other leading companies.
When the production opened the Met’s current season, The New York Times noted, “[Sonya] Yoncheva is poised for a major career… Her luscious sound has just enough of an earthy tinge and texture to balance the shimmer of her singing,” adding, “What other soprano right now can sing the ‘Willow Song’ and ‘Ave Maria’ more beautifully?”
The Financial Times judged the production to be “a serious and compelling effort with a magnificence worthy of the Met… Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin led a performance of cracking authority.”
And The Washington Post found it to be “a compelling and sensitive reading of Verdi’s score that never lost its focus on the narrative and emotional arc of the story while mining the depths of this beautiful, shifting, chiaroscuro music.” Bass-baritone Eric Owens hosts the broadcast.
Otello was originally seen live in movie theaters on October 17, 2015 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 2,000 movie theaters and performing arts centers in over 70 countries around the world. The Live in HD series has reached a record-breaking 18 million viewers since its inception in 2006.