Thu10022014

Stepping Out

West Bay Opera stages

West Bay Opera has scheduled four performances of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Otello” in Palo Alto.

A co-production with the Festival Opera Association of Walnut Creek, “Otello” is slated 8 p.m. May 24 and June 1, and 2 p.m. May 26 and June 2 at the Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road.

A free preview of the opera’s highlights is scheduled 8 p.m. May 16 at Avenidas, 450 Bryant St., Palo Alto.

“Otello” is Verdi’s faithful take on William Shakespeare’s “Othello.” Verdi wrote the piece after being lured out of retirement in 1879 for the express purpose of tackling the work. The score is unlike anything he wrote before it, and it presages “Falstaff,” his final opera, which followed in 1893.

Performing in “Otello” is quite an undertaking for the three leads – David Gustafson (starring as Otello), Cynthia Clayton (Desdemona) and Philip Skinner (Iago) – as well as the orchestra and chorus, which become inextricably part of the action.

According to West Bay Opera representatives, “Otello” is a work of overwhelming power and beauty, masterfully orchestrated and very different from any of Verdi’s previous operas.

West Bay Opera presents “Otello” for the first time since 1969.

José Luis Moscovich serves as conductor and Daniel Helfgot as director. Performances are sung in Italian, with English titles.

The Los Altos Town Crier is a media sponsor of the production.

For tickets ($40-$75) and more information, call 424-9999 or visit www.wbopera.org.

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