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Before I bought the DVD I had read some reviews, and most reviewers were chocked by the cuts in the score and I always thought: big deal. But when I watched it I understood: THERE IS ABOUT 25 min OF CUTS!!! Most of Otellos (Levine's, Karajan's, Toscanini's) are about 2h15. This one is 1h55 with over 10 min of music and ballet that Verdi never wrote (You do the math, and remember that Maazel's tempi are much slower than Toscanini's). Also, not only are these cuts of arias or ensembles, but even worse: Phrases are just cut off here and there throughout the Opera. The 1000 words allowed for the review won't be enough to enumerate them. Why??? A reviewer argued that it's to enhance the drama!! Come on, are you going to convince me that the finale of Act II (Si, pel Ciel) needs enhancement. Even this part is cut, and worse it's "Cut IN HALF AND I MEAN IN HALF" as another reviewer pointed.
So what does go right?
Well the scenary is amazing and I mean amazing. But what about the performance (this is Opera after all). Well again much can be said. Domingo once said that his performance was very much influenced by Zeffirelli. He wanted him to go into some deep barytonal voice (à la Ramon Vinay of you will), and the performance suffers.
Maazel conducting is far from being ideal. Should he be blamed? Well yes, like most of the singers who agreed to represent Zeffirelli's Otello and not Verdi's.
Finally, one of the reviewer said that Zeffirelli tried to "adapt" the opera and those who dislike is are not open-minded. Oh Please!Read more ›
This isn't the only crime Zeffirelli commits against this most beautiful of Verdi operas. He leaves in or inserts sound effects and unnecessary flashbacks right into the middle of his arias,so that while Domingo and Ricciarelli sing their love duet,we see and hear,in a flashback to Otello's childhood,marauding soldiers on galloping horses snatching Otello from his mother while she screams hysterically.(This over the beautiful music and singing!)
On the plus side, Domingo, Ricciarelli and Diaz are memorable, and the photography,sets,and location filming are beautiful.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is beautifully shot, it is wonderfully sung.
I just can't get past the Domingo in Blackface.
May be a beautiful movie, but Verdi's Otello without The Willow Song is a very BAD disappointment !Published 6 months ago by Hilla
A soaring, sophisticated spectacle directed by the brilliant Italian filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli (renowned for his classic film, "Jesus of Nazareth"), Otello is the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by L. Llewellyn James
I did not see it. My wife did and she thought it was beautifully performed.Published 11 months ago by Stanley O. Epstein
Domingo is at his best in this one, so is everyone else. In this film version there are more details that are missing on a stage performance.Published 14 months ago by Adriana Dean
GREAT!!!!! Got this from the library and decided to add to my collection. Have watched it several times. Very nicely done!Published 15 months ago by Barbara Chisler
I enjoyed it very much! The film is very well done and the music is gorgeous. Besides, I am a Placido Domingo's fan! Read morePublished 16 months ago by Mauricio J. Motles
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