This will be the first staged opera conducted by Gustavo Dudamel in Spain, with a vocal line-up that includes Gregory Kunde and Jorge de León as Otello, Krassimira Stoyanova and Eleonora Buratto as Desdemona and Carlos Álvarez and Zeljko Lucic as Jago.
Otello will be performed at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona from 27 March, despite the pandemic. At a time when most theatres around the world are forced to close, the Liceu wants to prove that cultural performances are safe when certain hygiene standards are respected. In addition to Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia have also opened their opera houses.
The Liceu has spent approximately €480,000 in investments and expenses to implement all the necessary measures and protocols, which include the purchase of thermographs, ozone machines for disinfection, two new air conditioners, personal protective equipment (PPE), consumables (gels), tests, extra signage in the opera house, material to enable teleworking, and so on.
The seating capacity, applying the Catalan Health Ministry guidance, is at 50%, which means a maximum number of 1,000 spectators. To guarantee social distancing, alternate seats have been disabled.
The production premiered in Munich in 2018, and director Amélie Niermeyer focusses on Desdemona, underlining the story’s femicide and misogyny. She sets the four acts of the opera in Desdemona’s chamber, even for the arrival of Otello, Esultate!, “which has him opening the doors wide before his beloved, right in the very palace where his love has manifested itself”.
The scheduled production of Otello was from The Royal Opera House in London but had to be changed due to current European transport constraints.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.