Original Air Date: 03/11/1967
Mehta; Caballé, McCracken, Gobbi, Lorenzi
MOD Audio SID.19370637
This is the first Otello broadcast from the new house at Lincoln Center. Caballe is very fine in the fourth act, but earlier acts do not find her fully engaged. McCracken and Gobbi are fully engaged from first note, and Mehta is a solid participant. Sirius continues to deprive us of Tebaldi’s 1955 and 1958 Desdemonas which capture her (especially 1955) in remarkable voice. This is Caballe’s first broadcast from the Met, and McCracken, Gobbi and Mehta are wonderful partners. Compared to some other Desdemonas, I found her a little short until Act Four, but in the final act she was on all eight cylinders. I love the chemistry of McCracken and Gobbi. This fine performance is available on MetPlayer also. There never was a tenor quite like James McCracken—a veritable force of nature vocally, he fought his way to an international career that would come to be dominated by his seething portrayal of the title role of Verdi’s Otello. In this March 11, 1967, broadcast conducted by Zubin Mehta, McCracken’s finely sung Otello rages with a raw-nerve fury but also brings heroic tenderness to the love duet and his final moments. Montserrat Caballé’s singing, regal in its beauty throughout, gives way to towering passion in Desdemona’s clash with Otello in Act III. Tito Gobbi is utter, impeccable evil as Iago, heard in the savage glee he finally takes in hurling Cassio’s name, like a knife, at Otello at the end of Act II. This performance is available in Met Opera on Demand (MOoD) and definitely worth your time.