Lawrence Foster's 'stirring direction' of Verdi's Otello

A
a
-
Album title:
Verdi Otello
Composer(s):
Guiseppe Verdi
Works:
Otello
Performer:
Nikolai Schukoff, Melody Moore, Lester Lynch, Kevin Short, JunHo You; Gulbenkian Chorus & Orchestra/ Lawrence Foster
Label:
PentaTone
Catalogue Number:
PTC5186 662 (hybrid CD/ SACD)
Performance :
starstarstarnostarnostar
Recording:
starstarstarstarstar
3
Reviewer:
BBC Music Magazine
Lawrence Foster's 'stirring direction' of Verdi's Otello

Lawrence Foster returns here to the Lisbon-based orchestra whose principal conductor he was between 2002 and 2013. In Verdi’s demanding score, Foster’s stirring direction offering an unstoppable sense of momentum as well as highlighting much of the work’s enriching detail, to which his players respond with precision and vivid attack.

 

But Otello is not merely one of the major operatic challenges for all concerned, but a highly competitive market on disc. All three of the principals deliver honourable, quality performances, but none of them is able to equal – let alone surpass – some of the best available interpretations. Nevertheless, mixed Austro-Hungarian (as he describes himself) Heldentenor Nikolai Schukoff is a convincing exponent of the title-role, deliberate and controlled, if in the final analysis somewhat bland and lacking in dramatic stature. As Iago, Lester Lynch presents a thought-through exploration of the role, with some of its psychological complexity registering; but even though he’s clearly on the way to something remarkable as yet there’s not enough nuance. Melody Moore knows how to shape Desdemona’s line and her account blends passion and containment; at her best, as in the Willow Song and Ave Maria, she sounds vocally vibrant and thoroughly engaged.

 

The secondary roles are all decently done, though JunHo You’s harsh tenor compromises his otherwise cleverly sketched-in Cassio. The choral singing is clear and full-throated. One of the set’s undoubted assets is its superior recording quality, notable for bright, forward sound, sharp definition and a wide range.

 

George Hall

 

Only The Sound Remains by Kaija Saariaho
Only The Sound Remains by Kaija Saariaho
previous review Article
Diego Fasolis injects 'vitality' and 'melodrama' into Dorilla in Tempe by Vivaldi
Diego Fasolis injects 'vitality' and 'melodrama' into Dorilla in Tempe by Vivaldi
next review Article
We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here