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Subject: Otello in Trondheim
From: Hans Christian Hoff <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Hans Christian Hoff <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 12 Mar 2017 00:56:57 +0100
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Trondheim is Norway's third largest town, with around 185 000 
inhabitants (500 miles south of the Polar Circle). However small, it has 
a well regarded university that recently produced two Nobel laureates, 
and incorporates one of the foremost technical colleges in Europe. It 
also has a permanent theatre and a very good, if small, symphony 
orchestra. The latter has recently taken on presenting operas, based 
upon rented productions from permanent stages around Europe; the Krakow 
Opera has been a close collaborator.

Tonight I had the privilege of attending the first night of Verdi's 
Otello, in a production by David Alden, which has earlier been staged by 
Teatro Real Madrid, The Royal Opera of Stockholm and ENO. It was a great 
success, not least because of the wonderful Desdemona of Marita Sølberg, 
born in the neighbouring town of Levanger. She is far from an unknown 
entity, having sung among other things Pamina in LA and Mimi at he 
Wiener Staatsoper, but most of her work has been at the Norwegian Opera. 
This was her first go at Desdemona; she depicted her as a rather plain, 
plump girl with an angelic face, and she made her love for Otello seem 
very convincing. Her grand scene in act IV (with the willow song and the 
Ave Maria) was mesmerizing, with a heartbreaking purity of voice and air 
of innocence. I have little experience with live Otellos, but in my view 
this at least surpassed Ricciarelli in the Zefirelli production.

The Otello was Ian Storey, an imposing figure who after being quite a 
bit too much a Tristan, sounding constrained an bleating quite a little 
in the first act; later on  he opened up and settled down. His last act 
was a powerful performance.

The Bulgarian Vladimir Stoyanov was Iago. His appearance was very much 
that of a cunning, scheming subservenient minion, reminding you of a 
weasel, and  very far from the brash figure you otherwise often will see 
him as. In my view, this lended credibility to the figure. He had a 
rather light baritone with imposing high notes, and he used it very 
intelligently.

The supporting roles,which here are rather important, were in very good 
hands.

The public was ecstatic.

The stage at the concert hall in Trondheim has very limited technical 
facilities, and the scenery will have to be restricted to a rather 
static outlay. In this case the adaption was very cleverly done. The 
first act was of course the most difficult to adapt, but lateron 
credibility was not suffering too much.

If this level of quality can be upheld, we have much to look forward to!

Regards


Hans

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