Otello - Austin Lyric Opera

Of course, Desdemona’s infidelity is a lie sold to Otello by his venomous ensign, Iago. Michael Chioldi, a familiar face and voice with Austin Opera, embraced the character’s malevolence with a macho swagger – feet set apart, arms thrown open, smile broad. His Iago sailed on the sea of his own confidence, cocksure he could sink his general with a falsehood and a stolen handkerchief. And Chioldi made it hard to think otherwise. He fueled the villain’s “Credo in un Dio crudel” (“I believe in a cruel God”) with a conviction bordering on the demonic, his baritone darkening with talk of death as nothingness and snarling out “è vecchia fola il Ciel!” (“Heaven is an ancient lie!”), then ending with a boastful laugh. Illuminated by Thomas Hase’s red lighting, he seemed a devil born of hell. Mere minutes later, the same light made Savage’s Otello a soul enduring infernal torture in that same hell. The duet of Savage and Chioldi on “Sì, pel ciel marmoreo giuro” (“Yes, by the marble heavens I swear”) had the force of an earthquake.

Robert Faires, Austin
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