Music: Merely Excellent

The trick in Otello, the great tragic opera of Verdi's old age, is to pile into Scene 1 at full emotional gallop and to keep at it without nagging for three hours. Both vocally and dramatically, it is one of the most difficult works in all opera, as Verdi himself acknowledged ("This lago," he said grandly, "is humanity"). Last week, after a lapse of two years, the Metropolitan Opera tackled Otello and achieved a performance that did justice to Verdi's looming vision. It also served as a reminder that the Met is having a brilliant season, one of its greatest in...

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