* Notes *
The final performance of the year for San Francisco Opera was Verdi's Otello last Wednesday. The orchestra continued to sound fine, especially the woodwinds. Luisotti's interpretation of the music came through, his choices in tempi and dynamics were strong. The chorus also did wonderfully. Vocally, the performance was consistent with the opening, Renée Tatum (Emilia) and Eric Halfvarson (Lodovico) stood out in the smaller roles. Beau Gibson was quiet as Cassio, and Marco Vratogna (Iago) was also a little thin vocally. Zvetelina Vassileva (Desdemona) had good volume but a great deal of vibrato in her highest notes. Her voice is, however, not unpleasant. Johan Botha sang beautifully, but his stage presence is lacking, and the audience openly laughed at him at the end of Act III when he sings "Quella vil cortigiana ch'è la sposa d'Otello." Perhaps the supertitles were to blame.
* Tattling *
The audience ill-behaved. For one thing, some of the technical staff were about, and I heard their talking aloud, and their walkie-talkies. Someone read The Hobbit during the overture of Act III, oblivious to the fact that he was blocking my light for reading the score. The same person rustled a plastic bag, but at least had the good sense to leave after Act III. Some else snored loudly on the middle bench of the back balcony throughout Act III, naturally the only one with light back there.