Giuseppe Verdi

Friday, April 11, 2014  •  8 PM

Sunday, April 13, 2014  •  2 PM Matinee

Tuesday, April 15, 2014  •  7 PM



Act I

A huge storm is raging.  Otello, a general in the Venetian army, arrives following a violent journey at sea.  Although there is much celebration, Iago becomes outraged and vengeful when he hears that Otello has made Cassio his lieutenant.  Iago plots a scheme to ruin Otello, and his plan begins with getting Cassio drunk during the revelry.  A sword fight soon ensues and Cassio injures another officer.  Otello enters, stops the fight, and angrily demotes Cassio.  He orders all to disperse.  Otello’s wife, Desdemona, enters and a love scene begins.  The  two retire to the castle.

Act II

Iago convinces Cassio to implore Desdemona to ask Otello to reinstate him as lieutenant.  While Cassio searches for Desdemona, Iago places thoughts of jealousy in Otello’s head.  Once alone, Iago’s true self is exposed to the audience as he sings his “Credo,” in which he praises evil and denounces goodness.  Iago tells Otello that he saw Cassio with the wedding handkerchief given to Desdemona by Otello.  Otello sings of his despair and jealously vows to find out the truth of his wife’s fidelity.  If he discovers she has been unfaithful, there will be hell to pay.  Iago offers to help Otello vent his wrath upon the guilty parties.


Desdemona asks Otello to reinstate Cassio.  He feels his suspicions about Cassio and her are now confirmed.  Otello, heartbroken, discusses his feelings with Iago, and Iago continues to urge the jealous Otello on.  Iago agrees to arrange a conversation between himself and Cassio (while Otello remains hidden) to confirm Otello’s suspicions.  Afterwards, Otello commits to slaying his wife as Iago commits to slaying Cassio.  Lodovico arrives to great fanfare with a message for Otello.  To add to Otello’s anguish, the message is that he has been deposed and that Cassio is to replace him.  Otello vents his jealous fury towards Desdemona, much to the horror of the onlookers.  After she begs forgiveness for anything she might have done to offend him, Otello curses Desdemona and slaps her to the ground.  Otello clears the room.  As Otello falls senseless to the ground, Iago revels in Otello’s humiliation and despair.

Act IV

Desdemona retires to her bedroom with her maid Emilia.  Emilia exits as Desdemona prays before the Madonna.  A jealous rage has now completely overtaken Otello.  Otello enters her room after she has fallen asleep and awakens her with a kiss.  Once again he questions her on her unfaithfulness.  Enraged at her denials, he smothers her.  Emilia enters to see Desdemona’s lifeless body and screams.  Iago and the others enter.  Emilia denounces Iago and tells everyone that Desdemona was innocent.  Emilia explains that Iago took the handkerchief from her and gave it to Cassio.  Iago flees the scene.  Otello, in shame and despair over his actions, stabs himself.  He drags his body toward Desdemona to give her one last kiss but dies before reaching her.




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