Listen to a Sample:
This performance of Otello served as a dry-run for Karajan’s subsequent film and recording featuring mostly the same cast. Karajan would have been wiser, however, to simply move the mics into the opera house, as the energy from this live performance surpasses his later efforts. Jon Vickers is at his absolute peak. By the 70s, his voice was developing a more burnished quality which makes his Otello sound all the more tortured. You also get the sense that he was on his best behavior for Karajan, eliminating the mannerisms that often detracted from his artistry. Mirella Freni is radiant as Desdemona spinning silvery tones in the duet and standing up (vocally speaking) to the raging Vickers in Act III. Peter Glossop’s Iago is a calculating, cold-blooded sociopath. The sound is very good.