New Productions of Aida, Die Zauberflöte, and Don Giovanni and Met Premieres of The Fiery Angel and Dead Man Walking Headline the Metropolitan Opera’s 2020–21 Season

Opening Night features a new Aida, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and starring Anna Netrebko, Anita Rachvelishvili, and Piotr Beczała, in a new staging by Michael Mayer.

Maestro Nézet-Séguin, in his third season as Music Director, will conduct six operas, including new stagings of Aida, Don Giovanni, and Dead Man Walking, as well as three classic revivals and two Met Orchestra concerts at Carnegie Hall.

The six operas conducted by Maestro Nézet-Séguin will all be featured in The Met: Live in HD series—the most transmissions ever led by a single conductor in an HD season.

Renowned directors Barrie Kosky (The Fiery Angel), Ivo van Hove (Don Giovanni and Dead Man Walking), and Simon McBurney (Die Zauberflöte) make notable Met debuts with new productions.

For the first time in recent decades, the Met season will extend into June and will include no performances in February.

There will be more weekend opera than ever before, with 22 Sunday matinee performances, plus onstage post-performance discussions with the stars of each Sunday matinee.

Notable debuts include conductors Hartmut Haenchen, Jakub Hrůša, Giacomo Sagripanti, Speranza Scappucci, and Lorenzo Viotti and singers Varduhi Abrahamyan, Benjamin Bernheim, Amartuvshin Enkhbat, Lucia Lucas, Thomas Oliemans, Svetlana Sozdateleva, and Okka von der Damerau.

Other notable conducting engagements include Harry Bicket (Giulio Cesare), Gustavo Dudamel (Die Zauberflöte), and Simone Young (Billy Budd), among others.

The 2020–21 season will be General Manager Peter Gelb’s 15th as the Met’s General Manager.

The Metropolitan Opera announced its 2020–21 season, the first in which Yannick Nézet-Séguin assumes his full breadth of musical duties as the company’s Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer Music Director, conducting six productions. His schedule includes the Met premiere of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, the first contemporary opera conducted by the maestro on the Met stage, as part of his ongoing commitment to opera of our time at the Met, which will expand in the seasons to come.

The season—which includes five new productions and 18 revivals—kicks off on September 21 with the first new staging of Verdi’s Aida in more than 30 years, directed by Michael Mayer, conducted by Nézet-Séguin, and starring Anna Netrebko, Anita Rachvelishvili, and Piotr Beczała. Australian director Barrie Kosky makes his company debut with the Met-premiere production of Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel, with Michail Jurowski leading an extraordinary cast in his Met debut. Two Mozart operas will also be seen in new stagings: an acclaimed production of Die Zauberflöte directed by Simon McBurney and conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, and a sophisticated new take on Don Giovanni, Ivo van Hove’s highly anticipated Met-debut production, conducted by Nézet-Séguin and starring Peter Mattei, Gerald Finley, Ailyn Pérez, and Isabel Leonard in the leading roles. And in April, Nézet-Séguin conducts the Met premiere of Jake Heggie’s 21st-century masterpiece Dead Man Walking, with a new staging by van Hove featuring Joyce DiDonato, Susan Graham, Latonia Moore, and Etienne Dupuis.

Following the successful addition of 16 new Sunday matinee performances last season, the Met will offer even more weekend options in 2020–21, with 22 Sunday matinee performances. Each Sunday matinee will be followed by an onstage post-performance discussion with the stars.

For the first time, the Met season will include no performances in February, with the company instead extending its performance calendar into the month of June.

In his third season as Music Director, in addition to the three new stagings, Nézet-Séguin conducts revivals of Fidelio, Roméo et Juliette, and Die Frau ohne Schatten, as well as two of three Met Orchestra concerts at Carnegie Hall in June. (Semyon Bychkov will conduct the first concert in the Carnegie Hall series, on June 10.)

This is the season in which the Yannick era hits its stride,” said General Manager Peter Gelb. “In conducting six operas, he will be present throughout the entire season, raising the artistic bar for the orchestra, the chorus, and the entire company.”

The artistic excellence we achieve each season is due to the invaluable contributions in the pit and on stage by the great Met Orchestra and Chorus,Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin said. “This is an exciting time for opera, and I’m thrilled to be sharing my passion for it with the Met’s discerning and loyal audience, while deepening my relationship with this great institution. As we look forward to future seasons, we will not only continue to expand our repertoire with new commissions by living composers but will also be adding to our artistic ranks with more women on the podium and a greater emphasis on artistic diversity.

Dozens of the world’s leading opera stars bring their artistry to 18 repertory revivals throughout the season, including Marcelo Álvarez, Jamie Barton, Piotr Beczała, Angel Blue, Stephanie Blythe, J’Nai Bridges, Lawrence Brownlee, Javier Camarena, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Stephen Costello, Diana Damrau, Joyce DiDonato, Gerald Finley, Angela Gheorghiu, Christine Goerke, Susan Graham, Greer Grimsley, Günther Groissböck, Ekaterina Gubanova, Anita Hartig, Evelyn Herlitzius, Quinn Kelsey, Tomasz Konieczny, Isabel Leonard, Peter Mattei, Angela Meade, Latonia Moore, Erin Morley, Anna Netrebko, Lisette Oropesa, Eric Owens, Ailyn Pérez, Susanna Phillips, Matthew Polenzani, Anita Rachvelishvili, Brenda Rae, Golda Schultz, Nadine Sierra, Stuart Skelton, Nina Stemme, Krassimira Stoyanova, Elza van den Heever, Christian Van Horn, Klaus Florian Vogt, Michael Volle, Pretty Yende, and Sonya Yoncheva. They perform alongside a number of significant newcomers to the Met stage, including Benjamin Bernheim, Okka von der Damerau, and Varduhi Abrahamyan. This is also a remarkable season for new conductors, with Hartmut Haenchen, Jakub Hrůša, Michail Jurowski, Nimrod David Pfeffer, Giacomo Sagripanti, Speranza Scappucci, Lorenzo Viotti, and Kensho Watanabe all appearing for the first time on the podium.

New Productions

OPENING NIGHT: Aida — Giuseppe Verdi

A set model by Christine Jones for the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Verdi’s “Aida.”
  • Opening: September 21, 2020
  • Conductor: Yannick Nézet-Séguin
  • Production: Michael Mayer
  • Set Designer: Christine Jones
  • Costume Designer: Susan Hilferty
  • Lighting Designer: Kevin Adams
  • Projection Designer: 59 Productions
  • Choreographer: Oleg Glushkov
  • Live in HD: October 10, 2020

Verdi’s opera receives its first new staging at the Met in more than three decades, with a season-opening premiere production directed by Michael Mayer, whose dazzling vision of ancient Egypt comes alive with intricate projections and eye-catching animations. Anna Netrebko and Anita Rachvelishvili portray archrivals Aida and Amneris on Opening Night—reprising their acclaimed partnership in the same roles from the 2018–19 season—and Piotr Beczała completes the triumvirate as Radamès. Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads a benchmark cast that also includes Ludovic Tézier as Aida’s father, Amonasro, and Krzysztof Bączyk in his Met debut as the King of Egypt. A co-production with the Bolshoi Theatre, this Aida also features Latonia Moore and Hibla Gerzmava in later performances of the title role, as well as Ekaterina Semenchuk and Marcelo Álvarez as Amneris and Radamès.

MET PREMIERE: The Fiery Angel — Sergei Prokofiev

Evgeny Nikitin as Ruprecht and Svetlana Sozdateleva as Renata in Prokofiev’s “The Fiery Angel.” Photo: Alfons Altman / Munich’s Bavarian State Opera
  • Opening: November 12, 2020
  • Conductor: Michail Jurowski
  • Production: Barrie Kosky
  • Set Designer: Rebecca Ringst
  • Costume Designer: Klaus Bruns
  • Lighting Designer: Joachim Klein
  • Choreographer: Otto Pichler

Australian director Barrie Kosky, a bright and bold force in the opera world, makes his long-awaited company debut with the Met premiere production of Prokofiev’s devilish masterwork, conducted by Michail Jurowski, also in his Met debut. Portraying the vagabond knight Ruprecht, Evgeny Nikitin stars opposite Svetlana Sozdateleva, who makes her Met debut in the role of Renata, the pious young woman obsessed with a mysterious angelic lover. Kosky’s visually stunning production was hailed by the Financial Times as “a gripping evening” when it premiered in Munich in 2015.

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Conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner Celebrates Beethoven at Carnegie Hall

Sir John Eliot Gardiner Curates Carnegie Hall Perspectives Series Featuring His Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique Performing A Complete Beethoven Symphony Cycle on Period Instruments in Five Concerts, February 19-24

Winter Concerts Are Part of Carnegie Hall’s Beethoven Celebration in Honor of the 250th Anniversary of the Composer’s Birth

This February, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Artistic Director and Conductor of the internationally acclaimed period instrument ensemble Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique (ORR), curates a five-concert Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall, featuring a complete Beethoven symphony cycle performed as part of Carnegie Hall’s season-long celebration of the 250th anniversary year of Beethoven’s birth.

The five New York City concerts by Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique are part of Carnegie Hall’s season-long Beethoven Celebration featuring more than 35 events highlighting the immensity of the composer’s transformative impact on music, performed by a remarkable line-up of internationally renowned musicians.


Grounded in Maestro Gardiner’s exacting study of Beethoven’s original manuscripts, the symphonies will be performed as the composer would have experienced them, played on period instruments, including valveless brass, woodwinds without additional keys and levers, gut strings, and hide-covered timpani struck with hard sticks.

Sir John Eliot Gardiner (www.monteverdi.co.uk)

A key figure both in the early music revival and as a pioneer of historically informed performances, Maestro Gardiner kicks off the ORR’s five-concert series on Wednesday, February 19 at 8:00 p.m. with selections from Beethoven’s rarely heard ballet score, The Creatures of Prometheus; the concert aria, “Ah! perfido;” excerpts from Leonore; and the composer’s Symphony No. 1; Soprano Lucy Crowe joins the orchestra as soloist. On Thursday, February 20 at 8:00 p.m., the orchestra performs Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 and Symphony No. 3, “Eroica.” The series continues Friday, February 21 at 8:00 p.m. with symphonies Nos. 4 and 5. On Sunday, February 23 at 2:00 p.m., the program includes Symphony No. 6, “Pastoral” and Symphony No. 7. For the series’ final concert on Monday, February 24 at 8:00 p.m. the ORR’s Beethoven cycle culminates with the symphonies Nos. 8 and 9, with the orchestra joined by soprano Lucy Crowe, contralto Jess Dandy, tenor Ed Lyon, and bass Tareq Nazmi, alongside The Monteverdi Choir. As a prelude to the cycle, Maestro Gardiner will be joined by distinguished Beethoven scholar William Kinderman for a discussion in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall to illuminate Sir John Eliot’s approach to these symphonic masterworks (Tuesday, February 18 at 7:00 p.m.). In addition to the public discussion with Sir John Eliot on February 18, Carnegie Hall Debs Composer’s Chair Jörg Widmann will present a talk later this spring (Mar. 29, WRH), enabling audiences to gain greater insights into Beethoven’s music.

The ORR’s final February 24 concert will be heard by listeners around the world as part of the ninth annual Carnegie Hall Live broadcast and digital series with a live radio broadcast on WQXR 105.9 FM in New York and online at wqxr.org and carnegiehall.org/wqxr. Produced by WQXR and Carnegie Hall and co-hosted by WQXR’s Jeff Spurgeon and Clemency Burton-Hill, select Carnegie Hall Live broadcasts featured throughout the season include special digital access to the broadcast team, from backstage and in the control room, connecting national and international fans to the music and to each other.

When asked to reflect on thirty years of music making with the ORR and his upcoming Beethoven symphony performances, Sir John Eliot Gardiner said “When we started the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique 30 years ago, our mission statement included trying to recover the world of Beethoven’s sound. Our aim was to provide bold new perspectives on the glorious orchestral works of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Since the ensemble’s inception, we have used our time together productively and creatively to explore fresh approaches to this much-loved music, some of it familiar but also some of it neglected or undervalued. Through the use and mastery of period instruments, the ORR musicians bring out the subtle and pervasive differences in the palette of sounds that composers as different as Beethoven, Berlioz, Schumann, Debussy, and Verdi were committed to revealing. Time and again, the players have shown vision and tenacity in demonstrating the techniques and sounds required to recapture the true essence of this music. Every time we embark on a fresh project together, I am amazed and touched by the way the players seem willing to put their necks on the block in order to bring this music back to intoxicating life once again.”

The Carnegie Hall performances are part of Maestro Gardiner and the ORR’s Beethoven 250, a yearlong celebration of the composer’s milestone anniversary, and are also part of the ORR’s 30th anniversary season. The orchestra’s transatlantic tour, February 9-June 27, also includes engagements and complete symphony cycles at Chicago’s Harris Theater, London’s Barbican Hall, and Barcelona’s Palau de la Música.

Program Information

SIR JOHN ELIOT GARDINER ON THE BEETHOVEN SYMPHONIES

  • Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 7:00 PM, Weill Recital Hall
  • Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Speaker
  • with William Kinderman, Moderator
  • Robin Michael, Principal Cello
  • Anneke Scott, Principal Horn

BEETHOVEN’S SYMPHONIES AND THE EMPIRE OF THE MIND

Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s groundbreaking interpretations of Beethoven’s music have cast this magnificent body of work in a new light. Joined by distinguished Beethoven scholar William Kinderman and ORR principals Robin Michael and Anneke Scott for this illuminating discussion, Gardiner shares his insights about his approach to this immortal music. Tickets: $25

ORCHESTRE RÉVOLUTIONNAIRE ET ROMANTIQUE

  • Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at 8:00 PM
  • Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
  • Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Artistic Director and Conductor
  • Lucy Crowe, Soprano

ALL-BEETHOVEN PROGRAM

  • Overture, Introduction, and Act I from The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43
  • “Ah! perfido,” Op. 65
  • Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21
  • Leonore Overture No. 1, Op. 138
  • “Ach, brich noch nicht, du mattes Herz!” – “Komm, Hoffnung, lass den letzten Stern” from Act II of Leonore, Op. 72
  • Finale to The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43

Tickets: $32-$105

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Mezzo-Soprano Joyce DiDonato Curates Carnegie Hall 2019-2020 Perspectives Series

Series Includes Six Upcoming Concerts and Three Annual Master Classes Throughout the 2019-2020 Season

Upcoming Concerts Include November Appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra & Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, and a December Recital with Fellow Carnegie Hall Perspectives Artist Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato returns to Carnegie Hall for a series of Perspectives concerts throughout the 2019-2020 season, highlighting her full range of vocal artistry as well as her work as an educator. (Ticketing Information)

Ms. DiDonato is one of a handful of artists who have been invited to curate a second Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall. Her first Perspectives was presented throughout the Hall’s 2014–2015 season. Now in its 21st season, Carnegie Hall’s Perspectives series is an artistic initiative in which select musicians are invited to explore their own musical individuality and create their own personal concert series through collaborations with other musicians and ensembles. In the 2019–2020 season, Perspectives series will be curated by four acclaimed artists: conductors Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, and singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo.

Joyce DiDonato by Simon Pauly

Previous Perspectives artists have included Senegalese vocalist Youssou NDOUR; Brazilian singer-songwriter Caetano Veloso; Indian classical tabla player Zakir Hussain; experimental rocker David Byrne; singer-songwriters Rosanne Cash and James Taylor; as well as conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim; conductors Pierre Boulez, James Levine, Sir Simon Rattle, David Robertson, and Michael Tilson Thomas; violinists Janine Jansen, Gidon Kremer, Anne-Sophie Mutter, and Christian Tetzlaff; cellist Yo-Yo Ma; pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Leif Ove Andsnes, Martha Argerich, Emanuel Ax, Evgeny Kissin, Maurizio Pollini, Sir András Schiff, Peter Serkin, Daniil Trifonov, Mitsuko Uchida, and Yuja Wang; sopranos Renée Fleming and Dawn Upshaw; mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato; bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff; the Emerson String Quartet; the Kronos Quartet; and early music ensemble L’Arpeggiata.

Ms. DiDonato’s 2019-2020 Perspectives kicked off during the summer of 2019 when she joined Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA) on tour across Europe with her longtime collaborator conductor Sir Antonio Pappano in performances of Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin by Jan Regan, Joyce DiDonato by Chris Singer

On Friday, November 15 at 8:00 p.m., she continues her series with one of her specialties: singing Berlioz’s La mort de Cléopâtre, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti. The program, featuring music inspired by Rome, also includes Bizet’s rarely performed Roma and Respighi’s Pines of Rome. The concert is part of the Carnegie Hall Live broadcast and digital series with a live radio broadcast on WQXR 105.9 FM in New York and online at wqxr.org and carnegiehall.org/wqxr. Produced by WQXR and Carnegie Hall and co-hosted by WQXR’s Jeff Spurgeon and Clemency Burton-Hill, Carnegie Hall Live broadcasts include behind-the-scenes access to the artists and broadcast team, connecting national and international fans to the music and to each other.

The following week, on Friday, November 22 at 8:00 p.m., she joins fellow Perspectives artist Yannick Nézet-Séguin with the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal singing arias from Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito on a program that also includes Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, “Romantic” in the orchestra’s Carnegie Hall debut. She collaborates again with Mr. Nézet-Séguin on piano on Sunday, December 15 at 2:00 p.m., singing Schubert’s powerful song cycle Winterreise. The December 15 concert will be webcast live, free of charge, to a worldwide audience on medici.tv and carnegiehall.org/medici. The collaboration between Carnegie Hall and medici.tv—making live webcasts of select Carnegie Hall concerts available to music lovers everywhere—began in fall 2014 and has since showcased performances by some of the world’s most celebrated artists. These webcasts have been enthusiastically received, reaching over 8 million views over the past five seasons with audience members originating from more than 180 countries and territories around the world.

Ms. DiDonato joins New Yorkers of all ages onstage in Zankel Hall on Sunday, April 5 at 7:00 p.m. for All Together: Songs for Joy. This special concert features music written as part of Carnegie Hall’s worldwide exploration of the “Ode to Joy” in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and its season-long celebration honoring the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth. The young musicians will share their own perspectives on joy, a universal emotion that binds communities together.

Also that week, April 6–8 at 4:00 p.m., Ms. DiDonato returns to lead her annual series of public master classes for young opera singers, webcast via medici.tv, presented by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI) in the Weill Music Room.

The following week, Ms. DiDonato returns to Zankel Hall joined by some of her dearest musical friends: flutist Tara Helen O’Connor, clarinetist Anthony McGill, harpist Emmanuel Ceysson, pianist Bryan Wagorn, and the Brentano String Quartet for A French Soirée, presenting works by Ravel, Debussy, and the premiere of a new arrangement of Debussy’s Chansons de Bilitis by Jake Heggie commissioned by Carnegie Hall on Monday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Her Perspectives culminates on Tuesday, May 26, at 8:00 p.m. with a recital in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage titled Joyce DiDonato: My Favorite Thingswith conductor Maxim Emelyanychev leading Il Pomo d’Oro, the dynamic Italian ensemble that specializes in Baroque performance practice, in selections by Monteverdi, Gluck, Handel, and Purcell.

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Television: New Staging of Verdi’s Masterpiece Otello Debuts On Great Performances at the Met Sunday, February 21 at 12 p.m. on PBS

Conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Directed by Bartlett Sher, Aleksandrs Antonenko, One Of The World’s Leading Interpreters of Otello, Sings His First Met Performances Of The Role, Opposite Sonya Yoncheva as Desdemona and Željko Lučić as the Villainous Iago

Verdi’s late masterpiece based on Shakespeare’s tragic drama of jealousy and deceit, Otello, airs on THIRTEEN’S Great Performances at the Met Sunday, February 21 at 12 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.) (In New York, THIRTEEN will air the opera at 12:30 p.m.)

Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher‘s acclaimed new production is led by dynamic conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin with Aleksandrs Antonenko in his first Met performance as the tormented Moor of Venice, with Sonya Yoncheva in her role debut as his innocent wife, Desdemona. Bass-baritone Eric Owens hosts the broadcast.

Great Performances at the Met: Otello

Aleksandrs Antonenko in the title role Željko Lučić as Iago in Verdi’s “Otello”. Photographed by Ken Howard/ Metropolitan Opera

Also featuring Željko Lučić as Otello’s sinister rival, IagoDimitri Pittas as Cassio, and Günther Groissböck as Lodovico, this staging also marks the Met debut of set designer Es Devlin, whose previous designs include the 2014 revival of Machinal on Broadway and numerous opera productions for Covent Garden, La Scala, and other leading companies.

Otello was originally seen live in movie theaters on October 17, 2015 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 2,000 movie theaters and performing arts centers in over 70 countries around the world. The Live in HD series has reached a record-breaking 18 million viewers since its inception in 2006.

Great Performances at the Met: Otello

Sonya Yoncheva as Desdemona and Aleksandrs Antonenko in the title role of Verdi’s “Otello”. Photographed by Ken Howard/ Metropolitan Opera

Often cited as Italian opera’s greatest tragedy, Otello is a miraculous union of music and drama, a masterpiece as profound philosophically as it is thrilling theatrically. Shakespeare’s tale of an outsider, a great hero who can’t control his jealousy, was carefully molded by the librettist Arrigo Boito into a taut and powerful opera text. Otello almost wasn’t written: following the success of Aida and his setting of the Requiem mass in the early 1870s, Verdi considered himself retired, and it took Boito and publisher Giulio Ricordi several years to persuade him to take on a major new work.

WNET NEW YORK PUBLIC MEDIA GREAT PERFORMANCES AT THE MET LOGO

ACT I

Cyprus, late 19th century. During a violent storm, the people of Cyprus await the return of their governor and general of the Venetian fleet, the Moor Otello. He has been fighting the Muslim Turks and guides his victorious navy to safe harbor. In his absence, the young Venetian Roderigo has arrived in Cyprus and fallen in love with Otello’s new wife, Desdemona. Otello’s ensign Iago, who secretly hates the governor for promoting the officer Cassio over him, promises Roderigo to help win her. While the citizens celebrate their governor’s return, Iago launches his plan to ruin Otello. Knowing that Cassio gets drunk easily, Iago proposes a toast. Cassio declines to drink, but abandons his scruples when Iago salutes Desdemona, who is a favorite of the people. Iago then goads Roderigo into provoking a fight with Cassio, who is now fully drunk. Montano, the former governor, tries to separate the two, and Cassio attacks him as well. Otello appears to restore order, furious about his soldiers’ behavior. When he realizes that Desdemona has also been disturbed by the commotion, he takes away Cassio’s recent promotion and dismisses everyone. Otello and Desdemona reaffirm their love.

Great Performances at the Met: Otello

Günther Groissböck as Lodovico in Verdi’s Otello. Photo by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

ACT II

Iago advises Cassio to present his case to Desdemona, arguing that her influence on Otello will secure his rehabilitation. Alone, Iago reveals his bleak, nihilistic view of humankind. He makes dismissive remarks about Desdemona’s fidelity to Otello, whose jealousy is easily aroused. Otello’s suspicious are raised when Desdemona appears and appeals to him on Cassio’s behalf. Otello evasively complains of a headache, and Desdemona offers him a handkerchief, which he tosses to the ground. Emilia, Iago’s wife and Desdemona’s maidservant, retrieves it, and Iago seizes the handkerchief from her. Left alone with Otello, Iago fans the flames of the governor’s suspicions by inventing a story of how Cassio had spoken of Desdemona in his sleep, and how he saw her handkerchief in Cassio’s hand. Seething with jealousy, Otello is now convinced that his wife is unfaithful. The two men join in an oath to punish Cassio and Desdemona. Continue reading