BUXTON FESTIVAL 2014: Otello by Rossini - REVIEW

Rossini's Otello. Photo: Mohamed El-Fatih.

Rossini's Otello. Photo: Mohamed El-Fatih.

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This production of Otello is a real musical feast.

The music is wonderful: lovely tunes beautifully woven between and amongst the singers and the musicians.

This concert performance, in Italian (translated on screen), allowed us to really concentrate on the glorious music. The vocal and orchestral performances were excellent.

At the beginning of Thursday’s performance there were technical problems with projection: electrical not vocal. When the screensaver was projected behind the singers in scene two, and apologised for, I wondered if the blurred and wobbly images which accompanied the overture were also a mistake, they felt very odd and distracting. Yet these small faults rapidly faded to nothing in the excellence of the overall performance.

The story is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Othello, though more tragic and conflicted throughout.

Desdemona’s role is central and very demanding vocally. Kate Ladner was truly outstanding in that role. Sara Fulgoni sang a strong Otello. Alessandro Luciano sang Rodrigo with great feeling. The orchestra, conducted by Stephen Barlow, was superb.

This was a very special performance, the music still rings in my ears.

• Performances of Otello continue at Buxton Opera House on Sunday July 20 at 2.30pm and Saturday July 26 at 7.15pm. For tickets, visit www.buxtonfestival.co.uk.