Nashville Opera concludes its 2013-14 season next week with three performances of Giuseppe Verdi’s operatic take on Shakespeare’s famous play about a great leader destroyed by his own uncontrollable jealousy and desire. Otello was composed near the end of his dynamic career and is the prime example of a masterful composer writing at the peak of his musical and theatrical powers.
“Not only was Verdi one of opera’s most prolific composers, he has long been considered one of its best,” says John Hoomes, General and Artistic Director of Nashville Opera. “In Otello, Verdi’s soaring melodies meld effortlessly with the libretto’s intense dramatic situations. It captivates the audience from the downbeat which is why it resonates with contemporary audiences like the day it premiered at La Scala in 1887.”
Singing the title role of Otello is Belmont University graduate and world-renown tenor Clifton Forbis, returning to Nashville Opera for the first time since he appeared in the 2003 production of Pagliacci. Mr. Forbis has performed around the world, and specializes in singing the most demanding tenor repertoire, including the title roles in Samson et Dalila and Tristan and Isolde. He is a leading artist with the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Canadian Opera Company, and Teatro alla Scala.
Baritone Malcolm MacKenzie sings the role of Iago, the sinister rival of Otello. Mr. MacKenzie has been heard at leading opera houses throughout the U.S. and Europe, appearing at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Paris Opera (Bastille), Washington National Opera, Nashville Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and San Diego Opera, and in roles including Iago, Tonio, Don Giovanni, Count Di Luna, Renato, Germont, and Count Almaviva.
Soprano Mary Dunleavy makes her Nashville Opera debut in the role of Desdemona. Ms. Dunleavy has portrayed a number of operatic heroines including her signature role, Violetta in La Traviata. Critical acclaim has followed her performances at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts, and the Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest. Ms. Dunleavy was the featured opera soprano in Steven Spielberg’s 2012 historical drama, Lincoln.
Nashville Opera offers three performances: Friday, April 11 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, April 13 at 2 p.m., and Tuesday, April 15 at 7 p.m. in the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s James K. Polk Theater, located at 505 Deaderick St. in Downtown Nashville. Otello is directed by Hoomes with Maestro Chris Larkin leading the Nashville Opera Orchestra. Tickets range from $26 to $102.50 and are available by calling Nashville Opera at (615) 832-5242, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center Box Office at (615) 782-4040, or online at www.nashvilleopera.org. Si desea comprar entradas para eventos en el TPAC y necesita ayuda en español, por favor llame al 1-800-664-8941. A limited number of “pay-what-you-can” seats may be purchased directly from Nashville Opera’s main offices at the Noah Liff Opera Center in Sylvan Heights for a minimum suggested donation of $5. Hoomes will present the popular Opera Insights discussion one-hour prior to curtain on the Orchestra Level and is free to all ticket holders. Otello will be sung in Italian with easy-to-read projected English supertitles.
The Nashville Opera Guild will host an Otello themed dinner prior to the Friday, April 11 performance at the Waller Lansden Dortch and Davis offices in the Nashville City Center at 511 Union Street. Reservations are available by calling Nashville Opera at (615) 832-5242. In addition, Nashville Opera’s Young Professionals group will host a free reception in the James K. Polk Theater Lobby with complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres at 6:30 p.m. on the same night. Reservations are available by calling Nashville Opera’s Community Relations Department at (615) 832-5242.
*Photo of (l to r) Baritone Malcolm MacKenzie (Iago), tenor Clifton Forbis (Otello), and soprano Mary Dunleavy (Desdemona) by Reed Hummell courtesy Nashville Opera.