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Otello - The Titfield Thunderbolt
Heisenberg might have stayed here
rosamicula had a discount offer for ENO's production of Verdi's Otello, so yesterday we ventured into London, briefly encountering the Japan Matsuri in Trafalgar Square and passing an hour or so at the National Gallery before meeting up for a meal at the Spaghetti House near the Coliseum. I think it's been a few years since I last met up with her - more recently for Mrs Q - so it was good to catch up.

As I wasn't familiar with either the opera or Shakespeare's original, it was all new to me, though it wasn't difficult to keep up with the plot even without reading the synopsis. It's not a "historical" production; difficult to say in which period it was set - my initial thoughts based on the costumes were perhaps the period of the Risorgimento or perhaps around the First World War - so I suppose broadly contemporary with the opera (1887) rather than the play. Musically, there were one or two sections that hinted at Mahler or Bruckner - perhaps in practice an Italian interpretation of Wagnerian ideas. Apparently the libretto cuts quite a lot from the play; ironically, this leads to a sometimes rather sparse production (particularly towards the end). We all thought the device of throwing oneself to the floor, or throwing the chairs around, was perhaps a little over-used, but nonetheless I'm glad to have had the opportunity to see it.

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