In fact, I've never heard the QSO play better in the pit - Fritzsch's excellent operatic credentials found new purpose in Brisbane. The Opera Queensland Chorus, always good, dominated. Cheryl Barker gave us an unusually energetic, but still delicate and dedicated Desdemona, which was welcome. She was a genuine highlight. Douglas McNicol's Iago summoned the devil in contrast to her angel, leaving Otello for the turbulent space between.Frank Porretta's Otello was, for me, a little underpowered in the first two acts - but that very much is a matter of taste. I grew up on the clarion-voiced Heldentenor Otellos, especially the indomitable Jon Vickers. But singers such as Beniamino Gigli showed us that the lyric tenor could have success in the role (not that Porretta is that type of tenor). Verdi had significant misgivings about his first Otello, the trumpet blasting, but brilliant, Francesco Tamagno. He felt this singer could not achieve the subtleties required in the duets that end the first and fourth acts. Here, Porretta managed the astral harmonies of the first act and the breathless, exhausted, veiled voice that Verdi wanted in the closing stretch.
In 1887, Francesco Tamagno was the first Otello. Here he is in 1903, aged 53, singing Otello's death scene.
Beniamino Gigli singing the same scene in 1940, aged 50.