Artist in Residence Russell Thomas stars in a production conducted by Music Director James Conlon
(Los Angeles) April 17, 2023 — LA Opera concludes its mainstage 2022/23 season with Giuseppe Verdi's Otello, the crowning achievement of Italian opera, conducted by Music Director James Conlon with tenor Russell Thomas in the title role. Performances will take place from May 13 through June 4, 2023, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
"Otello is an epic masterpiece celebrated for its sheer musical and theatrical brilliance," said Christopher Koelsch, LA Opera's president and CEO. "It's also famous for the demanding vocal and dramatic requirements of the title role. Fortunately, Russell Thomas, our incredibly gifted Artist in Residence, is one of those rare tenors who is not just able to meet but to conquer the role’s many challenges. Otello is also a conductor’s showcase. James Conlon conducted our 2008 production of Otello, in his second season with us as music director, and I know that our audiences have been eagerly anticipating his return to this monumental work. I will relish the opportunity to contemplate the profound impact he has had on shaping the sound of our wonderful orchestra in the intervening decade and a half."
About the Opera
He's a beloved leader, a distinguished military commander and a devoted husband. But when an envious subordinate introduces the notion—just the slightest whispered hint—that Otello's wife Desdemona might possibly be unfaithful, it's enough to send him into a downward spiral of fury and murder.
Hailed as the pinnacle of the Italian operatic repertoire, Verdi’s transformation of the original Shakespeare play is a powerful drama of uncontrolled human emotion at its most extreme. Verdi's musical portrait of Otello’s descent into a tortured heart of darkness is explicit in every chilling detail as he destroys all in life that he holds dear.
Tenor Russell Thomas, the company's Artist in Residence, will appear in the title role, which he has previously performed in productions at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Canadian Opera Company and Washington National Opera, and in concert performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
Soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen makes her LA Opera debut as Desdemona. She will return next season as Violetta in La Traviata. Baritone Igor Golovatenko, who made his company debut in 2019 as Giorgio Germont in La Traviata, will perform the role of Iago, Otello's malevolent nemesis.
Bass Morris Robinson, a longtime company favorite, will appear as Lodovico, and tenor Anthony Ciaramitaro, an alumnus of the company's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, will return as Cassio.
The cast also includes four current members of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program: mezzo-soprano Sarah Saturnino as Emilia, tenor Anthony León as Roderigo, bass-baritone Alan Williams as Montano, and baritone Ryan Wolfe as the Herald.
The Creative Team
James Conlon conducts a production created by director John Cox, previously seen at LA Opera in 2008, with sets and costumes designed by Johan Engels. Joel Ivany will direct this season's revival. The lighting designer is Jason Hand, Jeremy Frank is the chorus director and Fernando Malvar-Ruiz is the artistic director of the Los Angeles Children's Chorus. The dramaturg is Katherine Syer and the fight and intimacy director is Andrew Kenneth Moss.
Click here to download production photos and artist headshots.
Performance Dates, Times and Address
There will be six performances of Otello at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, located at 135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012:
Saturday, May 13, 2023, at 7:30pm
Wednesday, May 17, 2023, at 7:30 pm
Saturday, May 20, 2023, at 7:30pm
Sunday, May 28, 2023, at 2pm
Thursday, June 1, 2023, at 7:30pm
Sunday, June 4, 2023, at 2pm
May 13 Simulcast
Through the generous support of Los Angeles County, LA Opera will present a live, high-definition video simulcast of the opening night of Otello, free of charge as a special gift to the community. Audiences can enjoy the simulcast at either of two outdoor locations: California State University, Dominguez Hills and the Santa Monica Pier. Click here to learn more about the simulcasts.
More information about the production is available at LAOpera.org/Otello.
About LA Opera
Los Angeles is a city of enormous diversity and creativity, and LA Opera is dedicated to reflecting that vibrancy by redefining what opera can be. Through imaginative new productions, world premiere commissions, and inventive performances that preserve foundational works while making them feel fresh and compelling, LA Opera has become one of America’s most exciting and ambitious opera companies.
In addition to its mainstage performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the company explores unusual repertoire each season through the LA Opera Off Grand initiative, featuring performances in a variety of venues throughout Los Angeles. The LA Opera Connects initiative offers a robust variety of educational programming and community engagement offerings that reaches people throughout every corner of Los Angeles County. The company also offers a multitude of online content via its LA Opera On Now digital offerings, which launched in 2020. Learn more at LAOpera.org.
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Director of Communications
Production made possible by generous support from
GRoW @ Annenberg
Barbara Augusta Teichert
With special additional support from
National Endowment for the Arts
The Norman and Sadie Lee Foundation
With special appreciation to
Gregory and Régina Annenberg Weingarten
Additional support from
The Armenian Consortium
LA Opera Orchestra generously underwritten by
Terri and Jerry Kohl
LA Opera’s 2022/23 season is generously underwritten by
GRoW @ Annenberg
LA Opera is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the greater Los Angeles community.