After being postponed by pandemic restrictions days before opening at the Sydney Opera House in 2021, audiences will finally have the opportunity to see legendary German director Harry Kupfer’s highly acclaimed production of Otello opening 19 February.
One of Verdi’s most magnificent works, Otello will feature the three internationally renowned singers from the original 2021 cast to lead OA’s production of this taut, romantic tragedy.
Distilled from Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Otello is an intense chamber-like opera that explores all the problems of the world, concentrated in the lives of the three main characters: Otello, Desdemona and Iago, three of Verdi’s most demanding roles, both vocally and dramatically.
South Korean powerhouse singers Yonghoon Lee and Karah Son will reunite to lead the production after garnering high praise for their performances of Calàf and Liù respectively, in the company’s current season of Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot at the Sydney Opera House.
Internationally celebrated tenor Yonghoon Lee will make his role debut as the war hero Otello; a role that was predicted to be in his future following his 2016 Met performance in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, due to his “exceptional”, “large”, “beautiful spinto voice that he uses with great skill and sensitivity” (Medicine & Opera).
In his current role of Calàf, Lee has been described as having “imposing stage presence and vocal power perfectly suited to the role” by Limelight magazine.
The incomparable soprano Karah Son, whose captivating performance made OA’s Madama Butterfly a must-see in 2019 and is now delivering “a compelling dramatic and vocal performance” (Sydney Arts Guide) in Turandot, is expected to give a performance that is just as grippingly exciting in her long-awaited debut as Desdemona.
Fast becoming Australia’s favourite villain, Italian baritone Marco Vratogna returns to Sydney with a chilling portrayal of Iago alongside a stellar principal cast of Virgilio Marino, Sian Sharp, Richard Anderson, Hubert Francis, Andrew Moran and Andrew Williams.
Andrea Battistoni, one of the world’s most brilliant young conductors, will lead the cast, Opera Australia Chorus and Opera Australia Orchestra through Verdi’s glorious score.
Conductor: Andrea Battistoni | Director: Harry Kupfer | Revival Director: Luke Joslin | Featuring: Yonghoon Lee, Karah Son, Marco Vratogna, Virgilio Marino, Sian Sharp, Richard Anderson, Hubert Francis, Andrew Moran, Andrew Williams, Opera Australia Chorus, Opera Australia Orchestra | Set Designer: Hans Schavernoch | Costume Designer: Yan Tax | Lighting Designer: Toby Sewell
Joan Sutherland Theatre – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney
Season: 19 February – 19 March 2022
Information and Bookings: www.opera.org.au
Image: Yonghoon Lee stars in Opera Australia’s 2022 production of Otello – photo by Saskia Wilson