Verdi's Otello unquestionably forms the highpoint of Italian musical drama in the late 19th century. Together with librettist Boito, who gave a new twist to the familiar Shakespeare tale, Verdi was able to write an opera that captures the inner collapse of a hero through music.
Otello is not just the story of a jealous lover who is driven to desperation, but above all it is the drama of a man who is existentially adrift. Of a hero who has managed to work his way up to the highest positions in a hostile environment, but who is now undone by the very same world. The characterisation of Otello's antagonist, Iago, as a disciple of the belief in nothingness makes this work perhaps not the bloodiest of operas but certainly the darkest and most devastating. Otello is not Shakespeare set to music, but an original Verdian opera-drama that reveals for us the bottomless depths of human existence.
For this new production of Verdi’s Otello the German star director Michael Thalheimer will return to the Flemish Opera. After his acclaimed direction of La Forza del Destino at the Flemish Opera he will now inhabit the mind of Verdi's Otello, in an approach that promises to be darker than ever.