Listen to a Sample:
In a category filled with the likes of Ramon Vinay, Mario del Monaco and Plácido Domingo, it may be Jon Vickers who will emerge as the 20th Century's greatest Otello. Certainly, he is the only one of those singers who could conceivably have been convincing in the role of Shakespeare's Moor as well as Verdi's (Maybe Vinay as well. Maybe.) He is caught in exquisite form in this live performance from Orange in 1975, powerful in both his towering rage and his livid anguish. The Finnish Baritone Kari Nurmala is an intelligent, rather burly-sounding Iago and Teresa Zylis-Gara is an ethereal Desdemona. The late, great Lorin Maazel favors weighty, almost dangerously slow tempi, which lend well to the powerful orchestra of this audibly outdoor venue. The sound is generally good, though there is an inexplicable dip in volume early in the first act.