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Verdi - Otello / Barenboim, Franz, Alexejev, Magee, Schmidt, Rugamer, Berlin Opera

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

One of Verdi's last and greatest operas, with a libretto by Boito, performed by Christian Franz and Emily Magy, among others. Daniel Barenboim leads the Berlin State Opera Unter den Linden.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Emily Magee, Christian Franz
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: Italian, German, French, Spanish, Japanese
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • DVD Release Date: January 21, 2003
  • Run Time: 157 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007M5JX
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #355,453 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Berger on August 24, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an excellent and an unusual production. First, it is updated and staged in a modernistic, several-storied, eerily lit ship. Second, it does not have Placido Domingo as Otello. Rather, it has Christian Franz who sings the lyrical parts of Otello most beautifully and sensitively and does well with the more powerful aspects of the part as well. He is not as powerful as Domingo, and less imposing. But it is a wonderfully intelligent characterization and as well sung as one is going to have.
Jurgen Flimm's modernistic setting doesn't work badly; the initial storm is exciting as it should be, and the relationship between characters is, as is usual with Flimm, beautifully and subtlely done (the one clear wrong touch is Iago's thumbs up as he leaves the stage after the truth has come out. It is too self-serving and showy and jarringly modern.). However, the setting dwarfs the singers and has the unfortunate effect of making them less powerful as characters. Ideally, Otello should be like a force of nature (as del Monaco is in the old RAI film). Franz is made small by the setting: a captain of industry, maybe; a great bureaucrat (Eisenhower in World War II?) but not a force of nature. Plus updating the piece also reduces Otello's outsider status and his paranoid-like fear that, as a Moor,he is not loved and respected. Thus, his jealousy is reduced to a purely romantic one and this is a loss. It's a loss inherent in Verdi and Boito's reduction of the Shakespeare play - Otello is a more purely romantic figure and a less complicated one in the opera - but it's unfortunate that Flimm's setting accentuates this diminution.
Emily Magee, the young American soprano, makes a fine Desdemona, moving, loyal and true.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Decent production with good-to-adequate singing. The central character might have been more convincing...seemed a bit old-fashioned for a modern production. Highlight was the orchestration under Barenboim (as one would expect)
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This is one of the most thoughtful and electrifying versions of Otello I have ever heard--CD or DVD--the orchestral sound and detail is fabulous. Flimm's post-modern production is striking and sometimes effective, if flashy. The singing is always strong and insightful, especially Magee as Desdemona and Alexejev as Iago. Christian Franz's Otello is not in the heroic mold of Domingo but is effective nonetheless--an interesting alternative. Beautifully filmed.
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