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Subject: Re: Kaufmann's Otello
From: Katalin Mitchell <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Katalin Mitchell <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 9 Aug 2017 15:50:41 -0400
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Absolutely... Othello is a stranger who is handsome, has extraordinary magnetism and war stories to enchant any heart, especially of a closeted 16th century noblewoman. Who could resist him?
That is also the problem of Desdemona, who is a sheltered innocent who cant even imagine evil and betrayal among the people close to her. That is her doom.
K

> On Aug 9, 2017, at 1:02 PM, Paul Ricchi <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Implausible attraction?
> 
> I think one need only read the text for the duet that ends Act 1 to
> understand it.
> 
>> On Tue, Aug 8, 2017 at 10:15 AM donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>> The fundamental problem with OTELLO and OTHELLO has always
>> seemed to me to be the somewhat implausible attraction he has
>> for Desdemona.  What is the secret of Desdemona's yearning for
>> so innapropriate a lover?  And don't tell me there's no such thing
>> as impropriety when it comes to "love".
>> 
>> dtmk
>> 
>> On Tue, Aug 8, 2017 at 10:01 AM, A Katalin Mitchell <
>> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>>> Well…. thank you for that video – but Vickers is so scary to look at even
>>> in repose in this getup that I am not sure how far he has to go to be
>> truly
>>> frightening, for starters.  He walks in completely calm and regal, and
>>> grabs his sword (by the blade???? How can he not slice his hand open?) to
>>> threaten D as she begins the plea for Cassio and he asks for the
>>> handkerchief.  Kaufmann’s Othello (I saw it live and on video, two
>>> performances), is obviously disturbed as he walks in, and can barely
>>> restrain his anguish, which increases every second, erupting at same
>> time.
>>> I found his performance very moving instead of scary, of a slowly
>>> disintegrating soul.
>>> 
>>> But I still find that the performance of Domingo and Freni, which I only
>>> ever saw in video, the most perfect of them all; I was in tears during
>> this
>>> scene, they are so emotionally convincing and brilliant.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> On 8/8/17, 12:31 AM, "Discussion of opera and related issues on behalf of
>>> Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask] on behalf of
>>> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> 
>>>    Idia Legray wrote (in another thread):
>>> 
>>>    "After all the hype about how superb the Moor role would be for
>>> Kaufmann, frankly, I was
>>>    disappointed in his interpretation.  It lacked a certain excitement
>>> and foreboding for me."
>>> 
>>>    Saw Kaufmann in the ROH "Otello" yesterday and I would agree with
>> that
>>> assessment.  I
>>>    thought it was splendid, vocally, but it was a very low-key
>>> interpretation of a very intense
>>>    role.  I don't mean scenery chewing.  Vickers, for example, the
>>> greatest Otello in my
>>>    experience, was very restrained through much of the opera.  But you
>>> always had the sense
>>>    of a volcano about to erupt, and when it did erupt - as at the end of
>>> Act II and in the Act III
>>>    confrontation with Desdemona - the effect was cataclysmic.  Certainly
>>> by the last act, one
>>>    should feel that Otello has lost it completely and has, in effect,
>>> become a homicidal
>>>    psychopath.  I did not get that feeling from Kaufmann.  Again, I
>> think
>>> his singing and
>>>    phrasing were superb - as usual - but that animal excitement and
>>> feeling of danger was
>>>    missing.  Also, I have to admit that, as with the Met's recent
>>> production, I was put off by
>>>    the lack of any noticeable darkening makeup on Kaufmann.  He did not
>>> look any different
>>>    from his Werther at the Met.  Otello doesn't have to look like Ving
>>> Rhames, but he should
>>>    have a noticeably darker complexion than Desdemona, otherwise an
>>> important dramatic
>>>    element is compromised.
>>> 
>>>    Check out Vickers' Otello here:
>>> 
>>>    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjtKkulTLPw
>>> 
>>>    This could be PSA for a spousal abuse center!  Vickers is crazy
>>> terrifying, and you really fear
>>>    for Scotto's Desdemona.  I didn't get this feeling when Kaufmann did
>>> the same scene.  He
>>>    didn't scare me.  And he should have.
>>> 
>>>    (BTW, I can't imagine anyone except a PC-addled moron being offended
>>> by Vickers'
>>>    makeup.)
>>> 
>>>    MDW
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
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