In the intermission interviews for Verdi's Otello live in HD from the Metropolitan Opera it was revealed that Renée Fleming had sung Desdemona in 1994 at the Met in this very same production. She is still gorgeous in the role, though I have never seen this production before.
The main difference between Verdi's Otello and Shakespeare's Othello is how quickly Verdi's hero stops believing in his beloved wife. There has to be some reason for this, and that reason is provided by the huge and not particularly attractive Johann Botha. He just can't believe that this beautiful woman could love him. I liked him better than I did when he sang the role 3 years ago in San Francisco. This time I have no complaints. His control of the phrase is now quite beautiful. He has been ill, so I believe our performance was his first in the run where he was completely healthy. Vocally and dramatically, he and Renée were a very fine doomed couple. They died in style.
Our Iago was Falk Struckmann, a German who roars and growls his way through the opera. He is a nasty piece of work. We know why Iago hates Otello and Cassio--they were promoted over him--but what exactly does he have against Desdemona?
What we were all asking each other was: when do we get to see Michael Fabiano in something serious? His was an outstanding Cassio, but the role is just not much. I think he is ready for more. #ad