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Verdi - Otello

7 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Oct 09, 2007)
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$24.58 $33.64

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Editorial Reviews

Mario Del Monaco, Gabriella Tucci,and Tito Gobbi, star in the Verdi opera with Alberto Erde conducting the NHK Symphony Orchestra, live Feb. 4, 1959.

Product Details

  • Actors: Mario Del Monaco, Gabriella Tucci, Tito Gobbi, Alberto Erde
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Classical, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Video Artists Int'l
  • DVD Release Date: October 9, 2007
  • Run Time: 131 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000VZAV44
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,073 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 12, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'm no special fan of things past, rather proposing that each age has its special conductors, singers, orchestras and that idolising per se performances of 30, 50 or more years ago may turn you away from your own surroundings and set you to unnecessarily living in a past that will not return, leading you to ignore very important events going on in your surroundings. There are exceptions, of course, and one of them is this 45 year old film (yes, film, not video tape and there lies its main problem, read below).

Let me begin by stating that this is an Otello practically impossible to reassemble today because you'd lack its main feature, which is none other than its supreme italianità. Del Monaco was THE Otello of his generation (and for many, still unsurpassed by later singers), much as Domingo is ours'. There were other singers tackling the part at the time, of course, but he was alone in appropriating the rôle to himself, as in her way did Callas with Norma or Tosca, by conveying like any other the complex personality of the character, an impersonation which evolved from long and intimate study. In 1958, when this was filmed by the Italian Broadcasting Corporation (RAI), he was at the absolute prime of his vocal condition (he had behind him a commercial recording of the rôle for Decca and would two years later re-record it in stereo for the same company, in Vienna and with Karajan conducting). His Desdemona is the delicious Rosanna Carteri, highly regarded in her time in Italy as a worthy competitor of Tebaldi, Callas or Stella in rôles like Violetta or Desdemona but sadly now largely forgotten, so much so that she's not even listed in Grove. Older collectors may recall her excellent Traviata recorded for RCA with Monteux conducting.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 13, 2003
Format: DVD
This is a 1958 Italian TV production with Mario Del Monaco as Otello, Renato Capecchi as Iago, Rosanna Carteri as Desdamona with Tullio Serafin conducting RAI Orchestra and Chorus, Milano. They prepared the audio portion separately, and lip-synced (badly) for the video portion. The mono audio recording is very good, and all sang very well. It is the best performance from Del Monaco that I have heard. He actually sings softly when he has to. Capecchi, more known for his Rossini and Donizetti comic roles, is a fine Iago. Carteri, who sounds a lot like Tebaldi but with better high notes, sings very well indeed, although she was not quite Tebaldi's equal in the Willow song or Ave Maria. And she looked very good in the video, as did Del Monaco, slender and handsome, but not very tall. The fuzzy video quality is about what you would expect from 1958 black and white TV, but the sets and often dark lighting were imaginative, and the acting, except for the lip-syncing, was splendid.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By George Thanos Assimakis on December 18, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a DVD of a historic performance of Verdi's Otello. It preserves on image Mario del Monaco's Otello and Tito Gobbi's Iago.

Unfortunately, the image quality is far from being remotely acceptable. It is black and white, out of focus most of the time and high contrast so that either the faces are too bright and all you see is a white blurb, or too dark for you to see the action. With Japan's reputation for cutting edge technology, even in the late 50's, this is totally unacceptable. It gives me the impression that it was taken with an old 8 mm camera placed in front of a television set with a bad reception. This is the only way I can account for such a bad image quality and the fact that you get huge Japanese subtitles embedded in the text. One short scene is missing visually but the sound is preserved.

Now to the performance: Mario del Monaco was probably the most famous Otello of the post war era. Both his vocal and his visual performances are exceptional. He is a tough Otello, that makes you feel from te start that poor Desdemona has no escape! His performance is preserved on a film version with Tulio Serafin conducting also from the late 50's. The image quality there is much better, and if it is del Monaco you want to see, this may be a better choice. What makes this performance truly exceptional is Tito Gobbi's Iago. Here is a master of the role that acts and sings it out in a way far superior to anyone since. It is a pity that the image is so bad that one often misses his extraordinary expression in his face. Vocally he is superb as well.

The rest of the cast are quite ordinary with nobody being really bad or truly exceptional. Gabriella Tucci's Desdemona is good, well sung, but rather uninspired.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By thor on June 26, 2009
Format: DVD
no one who cares about opera should miss the chance to see and hear mario del monaco and tito gobbi together "live" as otello and iago, roles in which they were unsurpassed in their time.
it's true that this dvd's audio and video quality don't match modern standards, but for a 1959 tv broadcast they're perfectly fine, and the theatricality of the stars will sweep you away. del monaco and gabriella tucci as desdemona sing a ravishing "gia nella notte densa" that will surprise anyone who has dismissed del monaco as relentlessly loud.
necessary caveats: the embedded japanese subtitles are ever-present and can't be removed, and the video for otello"s "ora e per sempre addio" is missing (we see a series of stills of del monaco as the audio plays). despite its marks of age, this is the most satisfying "otello" on commercial dvd, and until the domingo-freni-cappuccilli performance under carlos kleiber at la scala from 1976 gets a legit video release, it's likely to remain so.
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