Giuseppe Verdi: Otello
Otello... Jon Vickers
Desdemona... Mirella Freni
Jago... Peter Glossop
Emilia... Stefania Malagù
Cassio... Aldo Bottion
Conductor: Herbert Von Karajan
Artistic Supervisor: Herbert Von Karajan
This film by Hebert von Karajan is the best rendition of Verdi's "Otello" available in any video format. The conducting and singing are superb and the drama is expressed with the utmost intensity. Jon Vickers is the best Otello in recent memory, superior even to Placido Domingo in vocal and dramatic power. Mirella Freni is a bit light-voiced for Desdemona, but she sings beautifully and looks like an angel. Peter Glossop sings the role of Iago with beauty and power, and sets just the right tone of evil playfulness. Picture and sound quality are both just fine. The supporting cast is wonderful, too, and includes Jose van Dam (Lodovico) and Michel Senechal (Roderigo).
Karajan's cinematography is not as polished as Zeffirelli's, but it does present the essentials of the drama honestly and straightforwardly. The Zeffirelli film, although it has an excellent cast and looks beautiful, is an abomination. Starting with a perfectly good soundtrack, Zeffirelli proceeded to destroy Verdi's dramatic and musical conception by cutting out little snippets of the score (seemingly almost at random) to bring his movie to a length of less than two hours. As far as I know, his film has never been issued on DVD. I hope nobody bothers with it. Karajan's film is more stagebound and the lip synch isn't perfect, but his version is complete and dramatically compelling.
1 Full DVD9 | NTSC | All Regions | 4:3 | DTS 5.1, PCM Stereo | VO: italian
6,25 GB | Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese
Timing: 140 min