After the premiere of Aida, in 1871, Verdi announced the end of his career. A fortunate collusion between its publisher, Giulio Ricordi, and his former rival, the composer Arrigo Boito, made the master interested in composing a new opera. Verdi worked for eight years until completing what would be his penultimate work, because then he was convinced to put Falstaff to music, also based on characters created by Shakespeare.
Sixteen years after Aida, Otello premiered at the Theatre alla Scala in Milan (1887), played by Francesco Tamagno, Romilda Pantaleoni as Desdemona, the famous French baritone Víctor Maurel in the role of Yago, and directed by Franco Faccio. It was a success and was installed in the pantheon of the most famous works of the genre. Musically, Otello, like Don Carlos, Aida, and Falstaff, represent the most elaborate music of the Italian master’s production. Even in the last two it dispenses with the recitatives and arias characteristic of all the preceding Italian opera.
Otello’s role corresponds to a dramatic tenor. In history, tenors such as Francesco Tamagno, Giovanni Martinelli, Ramón Vinay, Mario del Mónaco, Jon Vickers and Plácido Domingo have represented him very well.
Desdemona’s role is sung by a lyrical soprana or lyrical spinto. Great Desdémonas have been Renata Tebaldí, Renata Scotto, Mirella Freni, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Renée Fleming.
Yago’s role is for a baritone, and has been stupendously sung by Victor Manuel, Giuseppe Valdengo, Tito Gobbi and Sherril Milnes.
The Chilean tenor Ramón Vinay was a famous Otello, he sings it all over the world and at the Municipal Theater since 1948. He retired on that stage in 1969, singing Yago in acts I, II and III, to sing Otello in the final act.
This opera was performed at the municipal theater for the last time in 2006, a single function was performed. Their interpreters were David Rendall, Verónica Villaroel, Frederick Burchinal, and its director, Roberto Rizzi – Brignoli.
This 2014, the Lithuanian tenor Kristian Benedikt debuts in Santiago, who in recent years has been a leading interpreter of Otello, Desdemona will be the North American soprano Keri Alkema and Yago, the Azerbaijani Evez Abdulla, and the orchestra will be conducted by Allemandi.