VERDI / BOÏTO Creation 23rd of october 2009 at Opéra de Limoges. Rerun at Grand Théâtre de Reims in november 2009

Musical direction : Guy Condette
Staging : Emmanuelle Cordoliani
Scenography : Emilie Roy, Alice Laloy
Costumes :  Julie Scobeltzine
Lights : Vincent Muster
Otello : Vladimir Kuzmenko
Desdemona : Marie-Paule Dotti
Iago : Marzio Giossi
Emilia : Eric Salha
Cassio : Dominique rossignol
Rodrigo : Ronan Nedelec
Ludovico : Jean-Marie Delpas
Choir : Opéra de Limoges / Atelier Lyrique ORCCA / Mission Voix
Children choir : Ensemble Vocal d’enfants du conservatoire
Orchestre du Grand Théâtre de Reims

The most improbable parentage presides over the birth of Otello. On one side, Verdi, the extremely famous and adulated composer who resumed composing in his seventies after a break of more than 15 years. On the other, Boito, his main detractor, a librettist and composer who swore only by Wagner. And against all odds, both agreed on who should be godfather to their partnership: William shakespeare. The alliance gave birth not to one but two masterpieces, Otello and Falstaff. The knowledge of this genealogy helps to grasp the fundamentally theatrical issues which govern the elaboration of our project in terms of dramaturgical plan and stage design. In a space which brings to mind the Globe Theater through its roundness and simplicity of scenic means, we aim for the visibility of a Shakespearean volume: vacuity incessantly redefined, for half by the spectator himself. According to the principle evoked by Shakespeare himself in Henry’s prologue: may we cram Within this wooden O the very casques That did affright the air at Agincourt? O, pardon! since a crooked figure may Attest in little place a million; And let us, ciphers to this great accompt, On your imaginary forces work. Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts; Into a thousand parts divide on man, And make imaginary puissance; Think when we talk of horses, that you see them Printing their proud hoofs i’ the receiving earth; For ’tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings, Carry them here and there; jumping o’er times, Turning the accomplishment of many years Into an hour-glass… This appeal to Elizabethan conventions, where the audience recognizes – and hence legitimizes – sea, night, war, and splendor by means of a few signs, reveals all the more Otello’s blindness. He finds himself incapable to recognize and condone that which for others is as clear as day:  innocence, love, and the inexorable darkness of the human soul.

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