For various reasons, we didn’t sign up for a subscription to the Lyric Opera this season, but instead sprung for just two operas, Otello and La Clemenza di Tito, as well as the Renee Fleming and Jonaus Kaufmann concert recital. After catching the season opener, Otello, last Wednesday though, I’m kind of tempted to buy tickets to at least a few more, including Puccini’s Madam Butterfly, the next performance of the season, even though I can’t stand how pathetic the heroine is.
Anyway, Otello was a treat, with stellar singing from the main leads. Johan Botha sang beautifully with much affection, even though a certain review likened him to “a great voice trapped in a blimp”. Nevermind that his acting was pretty stolid – Otello’s emotions shone through his singing. Ana Maria Martinez’s portrayal of Desdemona was very touching as well, especially in the Willow Song and Ave Maria. And although Falk Struckmann appeared to be suffering from some allergies – partway through his duet with Otello in Act 2 his voice cracked on a few notes and he had to sip from a glass of water on stage – his Iago was almost as deliciously evil as Alan Rickman in Die Hard.