Verdi at the beginning and the end of his career this Sunday September 20 on The Lyric Stage.
This week we have samples from two contrasting Verdi operas, his very first work, Oberto, with its influences of Bellini, Rossini and other composers of his day, and then from his next to last work 48 years later, Otello, a work of unquestioned original genius. Giuseppe Verdi was 26 when La Scala premiered Oberto in 1839. He had worked on it for 4 years, and the reception was mixed, but promising enough for La Scala to commission two more operas from the composer. Performances in other Italian cities followed, and in Barcelona as well. One critic said it had too much melody, a criticism Verdi fortunately paid no attention to in his many operas to follow. Ghena Dimitrova and Rolando Panerai head the cast, with Lamberto Gardelli conducting the Bavarian Radio Symphony orchestra and chorus.
Forty-eight years after Oberto's first performance, the same La Scala stage saw the premiere of Otello. The duet that ends Act One, Gia nella notte densa, Now as the darkness deepens, rounds out the program this week, with James McCracken and Gwyneth Jones. Sir John Barbarolli conducts the New Philharmonia Orchestra.