Thành viên hay g?i bài
333 bài dã g?i Posted - 06/05/2001 : 01:40:14
The story happens in Cyprus at the end of 1400, when the isle was under the rule of the Republic of Venice.
It is a stormy night and many huge waves brakes over the piers.
A crowd of Venetians and soldiers gathered on the steps, are begging God to save ship of the moor Otello, the Governor, which is trying to draw alongside.
Roderigo, a gentleman in love with Desdemona, the young Otello's wife, hopes it would not succeed, just like Jago, who has been succeeded by Cassio at the post of captain and Montano, the previous Governor.
As soon as the waves are calm Otello moors and announces triumphally that the Muslim fleet has been defeated. (Esultate!) .
When the moor gets into the fortress, a bonfire is lighted and great festivities are held in his honour with singing and drinking.
In the middle of the celebration, Jago starts weaving the plots against the captain: he tells Roderigo, after taking him aside, that captain Cassio is in love with Desdemona.
While Cassio is going to start his guard shift, he meets Jago and Roderigo. Jago makes him drunk. In the meanwhile Montano arrives and reproach Cassio for his unfair behaviour. Roderigo adds that it is not the first time he sees him drunk at work.
When Montano threats Cassio to report his behaviour to the Governor, Cassio unsheathes his sward and wounds him. On suggestion of Jago, who tries to exaggerate the episode, Roderigo goes to the city to instigate the crowd to the rebellion.
Drawn by the shouts, Otello goes out the castle and is informed by Jago about the events. He punishes Cassio by breaking him and tells the crowd to retire immediately. Jago exults at his first victory.
Desdemona, woken up by the first shouts, arrives and is very sad about Cassio's injury..
Under a sky full of stars Otello and Desdemona remember the days of their first meeting. (Già nella notte densa). After a long kiss, they go back to the castle. .
In a lounge at the ground floor of the castle Cassio complains of his punishment. Jago, still weaving plots against him, suggests him do ask Desdemona for some help in order to have his rank back. Jago insists that the occasion is favourable because at that time Emilia, Desdemona's lady companion, always walks with the lady in the garden and they are always alone.
While Cassio goes to the garden Jago thinks with grief about the sense of life. (Credo in un Dio Crudel) . At the same time he follows Cassio's movements and, acting as if he would not see him, expresses his disappoint when the Moor enters the lounge. Otello believes to have seen Cassio hurrying out of the garden and Jago feeds his jealousy telling him about a secret love betweeen Cassio and Desdemona.
After receiving a delegation of Cypriots Desdemona comes back. She is later than usual and tells her husband about Cassio's desire.
Otello is furious, he rejects Desdemona's request firmly and throws away the handkerchief she was using to dry his forehead. Jago cunningly takes the handkerchief. Otello and Desdemona do not notice anything. When Desdemona retires Jago tells Otello to have heard Cassio tell the name of Desdemona while he was asleep and to have seen in Cassio's hands the silk handkerchief, which Otello had given to Desdemona the day they got married. (Era la notte. Cassio dormìa).
Mad for the jealousy Otello goes down on his knees and swears to take revenge. (Sì, pel ciel marmoreo giuro) .
In the castle everybody is longing to welcome the ambassadors of Venice. In the meanwhile Jago goes on with his plan. He will have Cassio's confession and Otello will remain hidden and listen to it . Desdemona asks once more to forgive Cassio but her husband asks her with excitement to show the handkerchief. Desdemona answers that she couldn't find it and Otello accuses her to be a "courtesan" and throws her out..
Jago arrives, announces that Cassio is there and suggests the Moor to hide himself. Cassio asks if Desdemona's intercession has been of some help, but Jago changes the subject and starts talking about a nice lady, Bianca, Cassio's lover. Being in the mood for confidences Cassio exalts her love ability. Otello, who only gets some phrases of the conversation, believes that the object of the talk is Desdemona. Besides, Cassio shows a dubious silk handkerchief to Jago and tells him to have found it at home. Jago takes the handkerchief in his hands to allow the Moor to see it.
A salvo announces the arrival of the ambassadors.
The Moor receives them after he has appointed Jago captain and planned the murder of the two for the night.
The noble Ludovico, the captain of the ship, announces him that Venice wants him back and that Cassio will have in charge the isle.
Otello , in a delirium, pushes his wife on the floor and throws everybody away.
Alone with jago, he mumbles some incoherent phrases and loses consciousness.
Jago points out the body and cries: "Here's the lion!" echoing the voices of the Cypriots, who are praising the Moor with "Glory to the Lion of Venice!".
The night has begun in Cipro and in her room Desdemona is going to bed helped by Emilia, who tries to calm the deep anxiety of the woman due to the Moor's incomprehensible allegations. Emilia retires, Desdemona lies down and thinks about the story of Barbara, one of her mother's handmaid, who had been abandoned by her lover and used to sing the "Willow song". As soon as he has finished to pray (Ave Maria) , Otello arrives: he kisses her three times after putting a scimitar on the table. Desdemona wakes up, Otello accuses her to be Cassio's lover and tells her about the handkerchief. Desdemona cries out her innocence and begs him to spare her life. But Otello strangles her.
Emilia, comes back and announces that Roderigo has been killed by Cassio, who had attacked him incited by Jago. Desdemona's last wailing calls Emilia to her bed to discover the dead body. Emilia accuses Otello and tells him to have killed an innocent. Afterwards she reveals to everybody Jago's terrible plan. Jago runs away followed by the soldiers.
Otello understands the terrible plot against him and commits suicide with a knife.
Falling down near his wife's bed, he gives her the last kiss. (niun mi tema) .
Author: Laura Bandiziol
Thành viên hay g?i bài
333 bài dã g?i Posted - 06/05/2001 : 01:41:36
Modernism and melodrama in Otello.
Giuseppe Verdi is 73, and 15 years have passed since his last opera (except for the revisions) when he writes Otello. We are in1887 and Otello is his last great drama, if considered that it will be followed by Falstaff, an opera difficult to classify though surely based on the joke and the bitter irony, which cannot be defined a "drama in music". When we study Otello we have in front something like Puccuni's Turandot: the last great melodrama of an authentic genius. Just like any other extreme opera, Otello like Turandot contains not only the richness and the elegance which come from the experience and the self-criticism, very strong in both geniuses of our music history, but it also contains the signs of a changed musical milieu, of the formal and harmonic successes of the contemporary authors, who, in the case of Verdi were already two generations older than those with whom he has had his debut during the first half of 1800.
If we find in Turandot three "components" (a summary of the great first Puccini's lyric, the elegance of a self-critic Puccini, the harmonic novelties and the symphonic level of the ripe Puccini who "feels" and re-interprets the contemporary stylistic elements of nine hundred), the same must be valid for Otello: summary of theatre drama of the first Verdi, elegance and lyric of the self-critic Verdi, harmonic novelties and symphonic level of the old Verdi, who after Aida continued to absorb ad re-interpret his contemporary musical trends.
We'll see how these "ingredients" mix and where they are more evident in this Verdi's masterpiece. Then we'll discuss the problem of Verdi's relationship to his contemporary's musicians, apparently full of hate and rivalry but very interesting.
Let's start with the "first Verdi": differently from Aida, in which the experiment was much more important than the typical, bloody Verdi's drama, in Otello the intense and convincing Verdi is often more evident and permeates the whole tragic story. The parts in which this tendence is more visible are the blaspheme Credo in un Dio crudel sung by Jago in the II act, the famous duet Sì, pel ciel marmoreo giuro between Otello and Jago at the end of the same act, l'Ora e per sempre addio which is in the middle of the previous parts and the angrily final of Otello killing Desdemona. The theatricality of the first Verdi is evident also in some less dramatic parts, which exalt the chorus and the mass scene, like the start with the big choruses Vittoria, Sterminio.Fuoco di gioia! which seem to call back the great choral moments of Attila.
The second ingredient is represented by those moments in which Verdi shows a refined and smooth side, by renouncing to an excessive theatricality to express moments of great lyric by means of very simple things: among all we'll quote the famous Ave Maria sung by Desdemona, but also the wheedling and mellifluous moments of Jago in Era la notte, before the final duet of the first act, or the Esterrefatta fisso sung by Desdemona in the third act.
The third and last factor shows us Verdi interpreting personally the musical trends of the late eight hundred, which induced to use French-like harmonies (it will be a main point of the first Puccini), to a better care of the orchestration and of the phonic mixes and to a certain daring in the modulation. The most interesting moment in which this component stands out, though it is evident in the first chords, is surely the wonderful love duet between Otello and Desdemona which closes the first act: it seems to see the great Puccini's duets, in a very romantic atmosphere where Otello's passion and Desdemona's lyric melt with a tense lyric, harmonically modern musical realisation, bright modulations and artificial sevenths unusual for Verdi until then. Some other moments in which Verdi uses a new, contemporary language can be fund in the ecstatic choral contemplation of beauty and pureness of Desdemona in Dove guardi splendono , in which the repetition of the reification of popular melodies is used in a modern sense with the purpose of a great theatre-effect, in the interlude of double-basses in the IV act, in the final scene of Otello's death, in which the dramatic elements (Niun mi tema) and the lyric ones (Un bacio.) originally mix with the hollow tones of the kettledrums which recall the subject of destiny, which Verdi loves so much.
The last mentioned factor needs an ulterior investigation: Verdi's adjustment to the musical climate of the different seasons of his long theatre life is, in fact, a very important matter of discussion and analysis. If the first Verdi was a great innovator, transforming the Italian opera from the bel-canto of Bellini and Donizetti into the real "melodrama", thanks to the thickening of the orchestration, to the rhythmic impulse which drives the story, to the use of "forced" coloraturas and of the choruses, the "second" Verdi had to face the critics of the Wagnerians from a formal point of view and the one of the followers of the German symphonic romanticism from an harmonic point of view. After having created the popular trilogy, which perfects Verdi's melodrama, the composer found himself in the situation to remake his work entirely.
Nevertheless, how it often happens to geniuses, under the self-defence, the disregard towards the rivals and the closing to dialog there is always an attentive self-critic about the style features which differ from his own music. From this "anger" the challenge of Aida will be borne, the authentic answer for those who believed Verdi was able only to Produce some "zoom-pa-pa" and harmonies made up of tonic, dominant and diminished seventh. In Aida the experiment is sometimes so evident, maybe "forced" and extraneous to Verdi's real nature.
Only with Otello Verdi is able to renew his language: here there's no distorsion any more, the formal and harmonic novelties integrate perfectly into Verdi's language, which turns out to be very updated and natural, to the point that we can talk about an exceptional enrichment of the real Verdi's nature, which still remains full of drama and theatricality.
Author: Marco Milano