Verdi's tragic Otello is an enormous challenge for any conductor: from the rousing storm at the beginning to the quiet "Ave Maria" at the end. We delve into the craft of charismatic conductor Gustavo Dudamel as he inspires in Barcelona with his interpretation.
Gustavo Dudamel unravels the secrets of an epic score taking Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu by storm.
For the charismatic conductor Gustavo it's a score that is brimming with variety.
“Immediately these first, you know, bars of the opera are so powerful," enthuses Dudamel. "There's this moment where you have fortissimo, tutta forza accents. The thing is to balance this. We are living the drama with an intensity more than with screaming."
The magnetic maestro is at the helm of Verdi's final tragedy “Otello”, based on the Shakespeare play.
"When I heard he was going to be conducting I was ecstatic, really,” says Gregory Kunde, the tenor in the title role. “He's found a few different ideas, things that are not in the score that Verdi didn't write, but I think he would have written had he heard it, the way we're interpreting it."
Like all the best conductors, for Dudamel, the core craft of interpretation is an organic process and one rooted in collaboration.
“In the action of conducting and doing live music you find things, you say like: wow, this needs more time or this can breathe better. All of this you know, it comes in the moment,” says Dudamel.
The intimate “Ave Maria” which Desdemona sings before she is murdered by her jealous husband Otello, is among Gustavo Dudamel's favourite pages in the opera.
"You have this beautiful delicate dolcissimo part. She prays for me already in heaven.“
For Soprano Krassmira Stoyanova who plays Desdemona, it is a powerful moment: "I feel this wonderful ethereal energy at the very moment when Desdemona is praying," she says.
“Gustavo Dudamel is a magnificent musician, who communicates with people, but at the same time respects the artists' craft.”
“I listen a lot. I create an interpretation, but I also have the flexibility, I create a flexibility to listen and then you find a way to create a connexion,” reveals Dudamel. “I love what I do and I love to share that with the people that I work with.”
“Otello” at the Gran Teatre del Liceu runs until 14th April 2021.