Performing Rossini's Otello in Early Nineteenth-Century Vienna

Online Jour fixe Kulturwissenschaften mit Claudio Vellutini (University of British Columbia)

One of Rossini’s most successful operas, Otello enjoyed enormous popularity in Vienna especially through productions in German. The early performance history of the opera in the city reveals that performers and critics struggled with the unprecedented demands placed on the singers. Particularly the title role underwent several important modifications to adapt it to the skills of available interpreters—from cuts and alterations to the score to its casting as a bass. This paper discusses some of these modifications and how they participated to the Viennese debates about the merits and shortcomings of Rossini’s works.