Verdi: Otello

Opera 100

Here we write a 100-word précis of numerous opera plots. This is an ongoing and serendipitous series, the idea being to present the storyline in an instant.

Verdi: Otello

by: Alexander Campbell

Militarily successful, Otello reaches Cyprus amidst a terrible storm. Nihilistic Iago, resenting his subservient position, inebriates Cassio provoking riots that interrupt Otello’s reconciliation with his wife. Otello demotes Cassio. Abusing Otello’s trust Iago insinuates Desdemona is unfaithful. Desdemona pleads for Cassio but Otello angrily rejects her. Iago’s wife Emilia retrieves Desdemona’s handkerchief. Iago snatches it, hiding it in Cassio’s quarters. Later, prompting Cassio to reveal it, he convinces Otello of Desdemona’s infidelity. Otello suffocates his sleeping wife but Emilia inadvertently discovers the murder; forcing Iago to reveal his duplicity. Distraught, Otello stabs himself kissing the lifeless Desdemona as he expires.

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