Presenting the Australian premiere of Rossini’s dramatic masterpiece Otello.

Production Details

12, 20, 24, 27th October, 2018.
Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne.
Running Time:
3 hours with two intervals.

Composer: Giuseppe Rossini
Conductor: Greg Hocking, Raymond Lawrence
Director: Bruce Beresford.
Starring: Elena Xanthoudakis, Henry Choo, Stephen Smith, Boyd Owen.

This new production, celebrating the 150th anniversary of Rossini’s death, will be directed by the legendary film and opera director Bruce Beresford, conducted by Greg Hocking and Raymond Lawrence and sung in a new English translation by Geoffrey Harris.

Rossini’s Otello features no less than 6 demanding tenor roles. Melbourne Opera has gathered an all star cast Australian cast led by Stephen Smith in the demanding title role, with popular international soprano Elena Xanthoudakis returning to debut as Desdemona. Other cast members include Henry Choo, Boyd Owen, Jason Wasley, Roger Howell and Michael Dimovski.

Rossini’s Otello is immensely influential in the history of opera as, particularly in the 3rd act (the murder of Desdemona), Rossini breaks new ground in operatic drama and sets the stage for Bellini, Donizetti and early Verdi. The score is packed with exciting ensembles arias and duets featuring duelling tenors. This is an important premiere and builds on Melbourne Opera’s outstanding reputation in bel canto opera.

For more, read our fantastic Director, Bruce Beresford, on his experience with and passion for Rossini’s Otello beginning in New York in 1982.


Press & Reviews

“It is a real treat to hear an opera of this era in the intimate and historic surroundings of the Athenaeum Theatre…”

— Elizabeth Kertesz, Australian Book Review.

“Xanthoudakis soars in Australian premiere of Rossini’s rare Otello.”

— Barney Zwartz, The Sydney Morning Herald.

Cast & Crew

 — TENOR — Stephen Smith.
Desdemona — MEZZO SOPRANO — Elena Xanthoudakis
Rodrigo —  TENOR — Boyd Owen.
Iago — TENOR — Henry Choo.
Elmiro — BARITONE — Roger Howell
Emilia — MEZZO SOPRANO — Dimity Shepherd.
Lucio — TENOR — Paul Biencourt.
The Doge of Venice — TENOR — Jason Wasely.
A Gondolier — TENOR — Michael Dimovski.


Julia Allsop, Ariel Chou, Lindell Claff, Chris Cocklin, Giuliana D’Appio, Cheryl Darvidis, Jodie Debono, Annette Dick, Diana Fogl, Sue Halls, Angela Hennel, Ania McInerney, Debra O’Connor, Sue Robertson, Megan Whiteside, Emily Wilkinson, Maryam Williams, Cecily Woodberry, Nick Beecher, Ian Cook, Tim Daly, Paul Dernelly, Andrew Dickinson, Dick Dowling, Peter Hanway, Mark Henderson, Geoff King, Robert Moroni, James Park, Roland Seidl, Robert Van Keulen, David Woodberry.

Director: Bruce Beresford
Conductor: Greg Hocking, Raymond Lawrence
Head of Music & Chorus Master: Raymond Lawrence
Assistant Director: Miki Oikawa
Costume Design:  Rhiannon Irving
Designer – Lighting:  John Collopy 
Designer – Set: Greg Carroll
Video Artist: Liliana Braumberger
Hair, Make-up & Wigs: Taylor Elliott
Stage Manager: Janel Gibson
Assistant Stage Manager: Katie Timms
Consulting Swordsman: Finn Gilheany
Surtitles Operator: Felicity Baldock
Company Manager:  Robbie McPhee
Producer: Greg Hocking AM