PERFORMANCE DATES: Sunday, October 28 2pm, Friday, November 2 7:30pm, and Sunday, November 4 2pm
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Opera Southwest opens its 40th Anniversary Season with three performances of the seldom-performed Otello by Gioachino Rossini, which opened in December, 1816 in Naples. Otello was a resounding success from its opening and remained one of Rossini’s most popular operas for decades throughout Europe. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s play, the opera takes place entirely in Venice and replaces a letter for the ill-fated handkerchief. The original score also followed Shakespeare’s play in its tragic ending or seria finale; but in 1820 Rossini was pressed to replace the original with a happy ending, or lieto finale, to the delight of his audiences. Opera Southwest’s opening matinee will offer first the original seria finale and immediately after, the American staged premiere of the lieto finale – a rare opportunity for audiences to hear both final acts in the same performance. Audiences at the two subsequent performances will vote before the second act on which ending they wish to hear; until after the curtain rises on Ace II, audiences will have no idea whether the opera ends in dramatic death or in joyful reconciliation.
Leading this cast that requires six tenors is international sensation Rodrick Dixon, who has sung with major opera houses and orchestras throughout the world and at the Metropolitan Opera. His leading lady will be soprano Sarah Asmar. who has delighted audiences in regional opera houses across the U.S. in roles including Zerlina, Pamina, Papagena and Adele. She was a 2008 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Finalist.
Supporting cast members include Alissa Anderson as Emilia, Heath Huberg as Iago, Andrew Bidlack as Rodrigo, Javier Gonzalez as the Gondolier, Sam Shepperson as the Doge and Seth Hartwell as Lucio. OSW’s Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Anthony Barrese will conduct; Director of Artistic Operations David Bartholomew will direct; and nationally recognized Scenic Designer Carey Wong has designed the sets.
Enhance your opera experience by attending our popular 25-minute pre-opera presentations with Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Anthony Barrese. The talk begins 45-minutes before the performance and will familiarize you with major musical and dramatic aspects of the opera. Maestro Barrese situates the opera historically and summarizes the plot, including musical examples. Free to ticket-holders. Held in the Wells Fargo Theatre at the NHCC.
Learn more at our Pre-Opera Seminars. Click here for details.
Conductor: Anthony Barrese
Stage Director: David Bartholomew
Scene Designer: Carey Wong
Chorus Master: Paul Bower
Otello: Rodrick Dixon
Desdemona: Sarah Asmar
Emilia: Alissa Anderson
Iago: Heath Huberg
Rodrigo: Andrew Bidlack