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Otello to open the twelfth edition of Festival Mediterranea

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Otello to open the twelfth edition of Festival MediterraneaOtello, one of Giuseppe Verdi’s latest masterpieces, is the choice of the Teatru Astra this year to begin the 2013 theatre season, as it opens the twelfth edition of Festival Mediterranea in October.

This year being the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of the composer, the Astra’s Managing Committee could not but opt for one of the cavalli di battaglia of the celebrated genius, and a favourite with the local audience. The the names of the main cast are to be announced by the theate soon.

Otello marks yet another remarkable work by Giuseppe Verdi based on a Shakespeare play, subsequent to his Macbeth and composed after the composer had declared his intentions to retire permanently following the resounding success of his Aida.

Otello was first performed at Teatro alla Scala in Milan in 1887, and has been a world-wide hit ever since. In Malta it was first performed at the Teatro Reale in Valletta on 30 March 1897, just ten years after its première performance.

The four-act opera takes the audience back to the end of the 15th century in a tangle of love, passion, hatred, jealousy, deceit, innocence and, inevitably, death. With the omission of Shakespeare’s First Act, Arrigo Boito’s libretto is very loyal to the Bard’s plot, boiled down to the essential elements of the play while the music is considered as amongst Verdi’s most beautiful and expressive, with some of the composer’s richest characterisations.

The opera is deemed as one of the most demanding ones from the canon currently performed regularly worldwide, equally for the baritone as for the infamously difficult tenor role. In fact, Verdi had initially considered the part of Iago as being the main role. It is not a walk in the park for the soprano either, whose voice must match in strength and emotional intensity as that of the tenor and of the baritone.

Otello will be staged on Thursday, the 24th and Saturday, the 26th of October at Teatru Astra in Gozo.

Booking is currently open by contacting the festival’s helpdesk on 21550985, 79256897 or email

Photograph shows the 2003 performance ot Otello at the Teatru Astra.

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