Tri-nations collaboration on ‘Otello’

Tri-nations collaboration on ‘Otello’

Being sporting rivalries means South Africa, New Zealand and Australia seldom have many things to collaborate on. However a new production showcasing the best of local talent from all three countries is set to change all of that.
Cape Town Opera, West Australian Opera, Opera Queensland, New Zealand Opera, State Opera of South Australia and Victorian Opera, have joined forces to create a new production of Verdi’s ‘Otello’.

‘Otello’ will première in Cape Town on Saturday April 6 followed by its Australian première in Brisbane’s Lyric Theatre and subsequent seasons in Wellington, Auckland, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth.

Othello’s warrior character is given a 21st century spin and the production is set in an aircraft carrier to compliment the intensely claustrophobic and intimate surroundings many of the scenes require.
The more elaborate and larger scenes are set in the central hangar which gives depth to the great choral pieces that get performed.
Producer Simon Phillips says the set design was one of the most important elements of the production because it set the tone.

“I worked with my designers to create a claustrophobic world in which that intensity could thrive and fester, a pressure-cooker in which Iago’s nihilism, Otello’s emotional instability and Desdemona’s isolation would make a strange and disturbing sense. I wanted the military scenario to be tangible, so that Otello’s status as a ‘warrior’ was clearly contextualised,” he says.

The rest of the creative team includes assistant director and South African Matthew Wild, set and lighting designers Dale Ferguson and Nick Schlieper and South African costume designer Michael Mitchell.

Cape Town Opera has thrilled audiences around the globe for the past decade, from its home soils in Southern Africa to countries including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Israel, the United States and Australia.

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