Otello returns to Kennedy Center Opera House

Washington National Opera (WNO) presents Otello, Verdi’s penultimate
opera, in its return to the Kennedy Center Opera House after a nearly 20-year absence, from October 26–November 16, 2019.

The title role features tenor Russell Thomas whose “assured vocalism and theatrical acuity” (WallStreet Journal) brought him acclaim as Shakespeare’s tragic Moor at the Canadian Opera Company earlier this year. Soprano Leah Crocetto returns to the WNO stage as Otello’s innocent wife, Desdemona, following her celebrated performances in the role with the English National Opera and Frankfurt Opera. Audiences will remember this vocal duo from their acclaimed appearances in WNO’s 2018 mounting of Don Carlo.


In this production from the English National Opera, acclaimed Georgian baritone George Gagnidze makes his WNO debut as the devious mastermind, Iago. Described as the “Man You Love to Hate” by Opera News for his numerous appearances as a villain in productions at the Metropolitan Opera, Gagnidze takes on the ruthless, conniving antagonist. WNO newcomer Zach Borichevsky sings the young soldier Cassio,whose character becomes Iago’s pawn in his quest for power. Borichevsky has made his mark recently at the Glyndebourne Festival, the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and
English National Opera, and makes his WNO debut in this production.

Otello2The cast is rounded out by Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program alumna Deborah Nansteel, who appeared last season at WNO as Flora Bervoix in La traviata and who joins the cast as Iago’s wife Emilia. Fellow DCYAP alumnus Wei Wu, a WNO regular whose most recent appearance was last season in Tosca as the Sacristan, sings Lodovico. Two alumni of WNO’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists Program are also cast in Otello: Alexander McKissick as Roderigo and Hunter Enoch as Montano; both appeared with WNO last season in Silent Night.

Set in Cyprus, Otello explores the insecurities of human nature, jealousy, and loyalty.Iago, the opera’s antagonist, has a vendetta against Otello and convinces him that his wife has been unfaithful. In time, she realizes that even the truth cannot save her from Otello’s furious jealous rage, and he kills her. The opera concludes when Otello realizes his grave mistake and takes his own life.

The WNO’s production of Otello is conducted by Italian conductor Daniele Callegari who has led productions at some of the world’s most prestigious opera houses, as well as having served as the Chief Conductor of Royal Flanders Orchestra and the Wexford Opera Festival. Otello is directed by internationally acclaimed theater and film director David Alden, who has earned distinction throughout the opera houses of Europe, particularly with the English National Opera and the Bavarian State Opera. Setin Piazza San Marco in 19th-century period costumes, this production of Otello debuted at the English National Opera in 2014. The creative team is completed by Scenic/Costumer Designer Jon Morrell and Lighting Designer Andrew Cutbush.

All performances are sung in Italian with English surtitles. The opera’s running time is
approximately two hours and 25 minutes, plus one 25-minute intermissions, and runs for six performances. Visit WNO’s website for more information.

Otello Performance and Ticket Information
Saturday, October 26 at 7 p.m. ▪ Wednesday, October 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 3 at 2 p.m. ▪ Friday, November 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Monday, November11 at 7 p.m.▪ Saturday, November16 at 7 p.m.

Ticket Information
Tickets start at $45 and are available online, in person at the Kennedy Center Box Office, and by calling (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324. Groups of 10 or more receive discounts up to 15% for Otello purchases by calling (202) 467-8400. For all other ticket-related customer service inquiries, call the Advance Sales Box Office at (202) 416-8540.
Patrons 30 and under and active-duty members of the military are invited to join the Kennedy Center’s MyTix program for special discount offers and chances to win free tickets. MyTix discounts will be available for select performance of Otello.

For more information, visitkennedy-center.org/mytix

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