Otello at the National Theatre in Prague



OtellodateLibretto: Arrigo Boito
Musical preparation: Heiko Mathias Förster
Conductor: Martin Leginus
Stage director: Dominik Neuner
Stage director for the renewed production: Lubor Cukr
Sets: Vladimír Nývlt
Costumes: Josef Jelínek
Chorus master: Adolf Melichar
Dramaturgy: Jitka Slavíková

State Opera Orchestra

State Opera Chorus

Premiéra: May 28, 2009

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A key role in the origination of Verdi’s penultimate opera, Otello, was played by the composer’s publisher Giulio Ricordi. After completing Aida in 1871, Verdi decided to abandon his extremely successful operatic career. Naturally, Ricordi did not take kindly to this, but he did know how to change Verdi’s mind – by offering the composer a libretto he simply would not be able to resist. Verdi’s great admiration of Shakespeare was generally known, and hence Ricordi cannily turned his attention to Othello and chose the renowned librettist Arrigo Boito. On 1 November 1886, Verdi completed the score. He was convinced that he and Boito had created a masterpiece – and he was right.

The premiere on 5 February 1887 was a momentous event and the opera immediately set out on its triumphant journey around the world. Owing to the promptitude of its director Adolf Šubert, Otello was staged by the National Theatre in Prague less than a year later, on 7 January 1888. In 1991, the German stage director Dominik Neuner created a remarkable production which went on to become one of the State Opera’s most acclaimed performances. In 2009, the opera was revived within Neuner’s intentions by Lubor Cukr and musically prepared by the dynamic young German conductor Heiko Mathias Förster.

The opera is staged in Italian original version and Czech surtitles are used in the performance.

Photo: Karel Kouba

Duration of the performance: 2 hours and 40 minutes, 1 intermission

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