Ermonela Jaho, who sings the female lead in Teatro Real’s production, compares the spoken words of Shakespeare and the sung text by Verdi. Here, Desdemona, as a parallel to her own fate, tells the sad story of her mother’s maid Barbary.
My mother had a maid called Barbary,
She was in love, and he she loved proved mad
And did forsake her. She had a song of “Willow,”
An old thing ’twas, but it expressed her fortune
And she died singing it. That song tonight
Will not go from my mind. I have much to do
But to go hang my head all at one side
And sing it like poor Barbary. Prithee, dispatch.
Othello, Act 4, Scene 3
Subscribe to the newsletter
Receive regular updates on upcoming livestreams and new content from The Opera Platform.