Opera Philadelphia




Music by Gioachino Rossini
Libretto by Francesco Berio de Salsa after William Shakespeare's play Othello
New Production
Performed in Italian with English Supertitles
Part of Festival O22

Sparks fly when superpowered voices "meet in the playground of a Rossini opera” – The New Yorker

Rossini's rarely performed version of Shakespeare's tragedy comes to Opera Philadelphia for the first time in a critically acclaimed production by Spanish director Emilio Sagi (Tancredi 2017). Set in the 1920s, with elegant costumes and scenery evocative of the gilded world of Downton Abbey, Sagi's production puts a unique focus on the character of Desdemona, a woman whose acts of both rebellion and loyalty position her as more than just a symbol of lost innocence, but as the moral center of a changing world.

As in Shakespeare's play, Desdemona defies her father, Elmiro, and marries his enemy Otello rather than the nobleman Rodrigo. Their love is undone by the vengeful Iago, who is also in love with Desdemona and plots to convince Otello that his wife has been unfaithful.

Opera Philadelphia has partnered with Art-Reach and Nicole Sardella to provide Audio Description for this production on September 30. Learn more>>

Watch Play

Otello video

MapThe Academy of Music

Dates are Sep - Oct 2022.

Fri, Sep 23 8:00 p.m.
Sun, Sep 25 2:00 p.m.
Fri, Sep 30 8:00 p.m.
Sun, Oct 2 2:00 p.m.

Approximately 3 hours including one 20-minute intermission

Production from Opéra Royal de Wallonie - Liège (Belgium)

The Academy Series is underwritten, in part, by Judy and Peter Leone. Major support has been provided by Ms. Lisa D. Kabnick and Mr. John H. McFadden.

Leadership support for Otello has been provided by Mrs. Sandra K. Baldino, Carolyn Horn Seidle, Jean and Gene Stark, and Barbara Augusta Teichert.

Maestro Corrado Rovaris' engagement as the Jack Mulroney Music Director has been made possible by Mrs. John P. Mulroney

Support for the Opera Philadelphia Orchestra and Chorus has been provided by Alice and Walter Strine, Esqs.

Support for costuming has been provided by Sarah and Brad Marshall.

Cast & Creative

Corrado Rovaris
Corrado RovarisConductor Underwritten by Mrs. John P. Mulroney
Emilio Sagi
Emilio SagiDirector
Khanyiso Gwenxane
Khanyiso Gwenxane *Otello Underwritten by Carolyn Horn Seidle
Lawrence Brownlee
Lawrence BrownleeRodrigo Underwritten by Beth and Gary Glynn, and by Mr. Peter A. Benoliel and Ms. Willo Carey
Daniela Mack
Daniela MackDesdemona Underwritten by Ms. Caroline J. Mackenzie Kennedy
Alek Shrader
Alek ShraderIago Underwritten by Linda and David Glickstein
Sun-Ly Pierce
Sun-Ly Pierce *Emilia Underwritten, in part, by Kathleen and Nicholas Weir
Christian Pursell
Christian Pursell *Elmiro Underwritten by Dr. and Mrs. Andrew Wechsler
Aaron Crouch
Aaron Crouch *Gondolier Underwritten by Mr. Jeffrey P. Cunard and Ms. Mariko Ikehara, and by Ms. Joan DeJean
Daniel Taylor
Daniel TaylorLucio
Colin Doyle
Colin Doyle *The Doge
  • Javier Ulacia Associate Director
  • Gregory Boyle Assistant Director
  • Daniel Bianco Set Design
  • Gabriela Salaverri * Costume Design
  • Eduardo Bravo Lighting Design
  • Elizabeth Braden Chorus Master
  • Jennifer Shaw Stage Manager
  • Megan Coutts Assistant Stage Manager
  • Elliot Foster * Assistant Stage Manager
  • *Opera Philadelphia debut
Gioacchino Antonio Rossini

The Composer

Gioacchino Antonio Rossini

Rossini is the first great Italian composer of the 19th century. For a time, Rossini was the most influential composer in the world. But by his death in 1868, many of his operas were no longer played. By the turn of the century, he was known to most people as the composer of a single opera (The Barber of Seville), several overtures, and one religious work (Stabat Mater). Only since the 1950's has Rossini been given the credit he is due. This is a result of committed scholarship and the availability of singers who have mastered the difficult technique that proper Rossini singing requires. Many of his works have been re-evaluated, produced on stage, and recorded. Each August, Rossini’s hometown of Pesaro holds a festival in which at least one of his rare works is staged. Today he once again is considered a major influence in the development of both Italian and French opera. Read more >> 

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