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On Saturday evening 23 February 2008, Los Angeles Opera presented Otello in a co-production with Opéra de Monte-Carlo and Teatro Regio di Parma directed by John Cox. Johan Engels designed both the minimal box-like scenery and the much more interesting costumes.

Ian Storey as Otello and Mark Delavan as Iago in Los Angeles Opera's 'Otello'. Photo © 2008 Robert Millard
Ian Storey as Otello and Mark Delavan as Iago in Los Angeles Opera's 'Otello'. Photo © 2008 Robert Millard

One of the great glories of Los Angeles Opera is its excellent orchestra. Music Director James Conlon made Verdi's orchestration a great deal more than mere accompaniment. Here, it played a starring role from the opening storm at sea to Otello's tragic suicide. This has always been a fine group of players, and with Conlon at its helm, their work is absolutely superb.

Mark Delavan (Iago), Ning Liang (Emilia), Cristina Gallardo-Domâs (Desdemona) and Ian Storey (Otello) in Los Angeles Opera's 'Otello'. Photo © 2008 Robert Millard
Mark Delavan (Iago), Ning Liang (Emilia), Cristina Gallardo-Domâs (Desdemona) and Ian Storey (Otello) in Los Angeles Opera's 'Otello'. Photo © 2008 Robert Millard

Ian Storey was a tall, burly Otello with a strong, if not overly beautiful voice, and he created a meaningful, believable character. He may grow in the role as well. The scheduled Desdemona, Cristina Gallardo-Domâs, was ill so Metropolitan Opera regular, Elena Evseeva, was flown in to sing at the last minute. Since she had sung this role in several productions, she was musically up to speed. Her lustrous bright voice sounded joyful in Act I and poignant thereafter. Surprisingly, she seemed relaxed and moved well.

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Copyright © 2 March 2008 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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