This week - Act IV
The final tragic act, where Otello murders his innocent wife before Iago’s malicious plot is revealed and Otello commits suicide. In this episode the theme of darkness and light in the music is explored and Jonas Kaufmann speaks about Verdi’s mastery of the final scenes which can even elicit empathy for the broken Otello.
Unfamiliar with the story in Act 4? Desdemona says her prayers and prepares for bed. Soon Otello enters and wakes her with a kiss then announces he will kill her due to her infidelity. Frightened and distraught Desdemona again affirms her innocence but a furious Otello strangles his wife without mercy. Her maid Emilia appears with news that Cassio has killed Roderigo and soon Iago’s evil conspiracy is revealed. Otello, stunned, realizes the grievous mistake he has made. Broken, he stabs himself with a dagger and dies with a final kiss for Desdemona.
The studio recording of Otello - with Jonas Kaufmann and Antonio Pappano (appearing by kind permission of Warner Classics) conducting the Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale de Santa Cecilia - is available on Sony Classical