Gioachino Rossini’s “Otello” in Belgium



Gioachino Rossini (1792 – 1868)

From 07/02/2014 in Antwerp – from 28/02/2014 in Ghent

  • Alberto Zedda
  • Ryuichiro Sonoda
  • Moshe Leiser & Patrice Caurier
  • Gregory Kunde
  • Carmen Romeu
  • Josef Wagner
  • Musical direction: Alberto Zedda / Ryuichiro Sonoda
  • Director: Moshe Leiser & Patrice Caurier
  • Otello: Gregory Kunde
  • Desdemona: Carmen Romeu
  • Elmiro Barberigo: Josef Wagner
  • Rodrigo: Maxim Mironov 

The outsider Otello, a successful army general, gets married in secret to his great love Desdemona. Her father categorically disapproves of their relationship. Rodrigo, who is also seeking Desdemona’s hand, and by extension the whole community, throw a spanner in the works, awakening jealous demons in Otello’s head. The demons take on a life of their own and prove fatal to the happy couple…

Rossini’s choice of a Shakespearean tragedy as his inspiration was daring: it was unconventional to opt for a tragic dénoument rather than a happy ending. A Bel Canto work with demanding parts (for no fewer than 6 tenors!), which guarantees vocal fireworks. This piece heralds the return of native Antwerp director Moshe Leiser and his partner Patrice Caurier to Flanders Opera. They offer a fresh interpretation of the themes of jealousy and racism in this intelligent and inventive production.

Language: Italian. Surtitles: Dutch.

Tickets from € 14.00 to € 100.00


Vlaamse Opera Antwerpen

Frankrijklei 3


  • Fri 07 Feb 2014 – 19:30
  • Sun 09 Feb 2014 – 15:00
  • Wed 12 Feb 2014 – 19:30
  • Fri 14 Feb 2014 – 19:30
  • Sun 16 Feb 2014 – 15:00
  • Tue 18 Feb 2014 – 19:30
  • Vlaamse Opera Gent

Schouwburgstraat 3
9000 Gent




Alberto Zedda, an masterly, audacious elder statesman among Rossini directors, will be causing every heart in the audience to beat faster in his fourth appearance at Flanders Opera. Cecilia Bartoli’s favourite directors’ duo has already garnered praise in Zürich for this production. They will undoubtedly continue this success in Flanders. In the key tenor roles, we will be hearing the pillars of the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro: Gregory Kunde, Maxim Mironov (Belmonte in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail) and Robert McPherson (Idreno in Rossini’s Semiramide).


Othello, a black African, is honoured as a hero by the Venetian authorities after he recaptures Cyprus from the Turks. In exchange, he requests citizenship of the state, which is granted immediately despite his origins. As an individual he goes even further. He secretly marries Desdemona, the daughter of Elmiro, a political heavyweight in this lagoon city. He hates Othello for the colour of his skin and wants to marry his daughter off to Rodrigo, a rich man’s son who is passionately in love with Desdemona.

Desdemona is concerned about a love letter she wrote to Othello but which fell into her father’s hands. So as not to arouse any suspicion, she tells him that the letter was meant for Rodrigo. She is afraid Othello will accuse her of infidelity if he discovers theletter in someone else’s possession. This fear becomes justified when lago gets hold of the letter. lago wants to take revenge on both Othello and Desdemona, who once rejected him. Elmiro rapidly announces Desdemona’s marriage to Rodrigo. Desdemona refuses. To the assembled party-goers Othello proclaims that Desdemona has promised him love and fidelity, which she confirms. Elmiro curses his daughter. Desdemona warns her beloved of Rodrigo’s threats. In the meantime lago has no trouble convincing Othello of Desdemona’s infidelity, using the letter as proof. He decides to kill her. Rodrigo and Othello duel to the death.

Desdemona is close to despair. Her father no longer wants to see her and Othello has been banished. But Othello steals into Desdemona’s room. Once again she tries to persuade him of her innocence. In vain. Othello tells her that lago killed Rodrigo and then he kills her. But Rodrigo survived the attack. He tells Othello about lago’s death after lago had admitted his false accusations. Rodrigo is prepared to give up Desdemona. The doge too advises reconciliation and this makes the marriage possible in Elmiro’s eyes. But these proposals come too late for Othello.




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