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With his penultimate opera Otello, Verdi succeeded in achieving the goal of his artistic endeavours: the creation of a musical-dramatic large-scale form in which tonal effects, often with tangible realism, illustrate the sung word. Verdi completed Otello sixteen years after his last opera Aida. First performed at La Scala in Milan on February 5, 1887, the opera became such a success that it is far better known today and is performed much more frequently than the drama of the same name by Shakespeare, which Verdi used as the model for his opera.
Otello is the commander of the Venetian fleet. After a thunderstorm that he happily escapes, Otello proudly tells his wife Desdemona of his victory over the Turks, unaware that he himself will soon be the victim of dangerous intrigues. Rodrigo, who envies Otello Desdemona's love, and Jago, the ensign whom the commander passed over in his promotion to captain, have a diabolical plan. They want to convince the jealous Otello of Desdemona's alleged infidelity. The poison of doubt finally shows its effect. Otello strangles his beloved above all else.