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Subject: Kaufmann's Otello
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Tue, 8 Aug 2017 00:31:35 -0400
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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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