Royal Opera House 2016-17 Preview: Jonas Kaufmann Follows Footsteps of Plácido Domingo, James McCracken, Jon Vickers in ‘Otello’

By David Salazar

When Jonas Kaufmann takes the stage on Wed. June 21, 2017, for his first ever “Otello” in Verdi’s masterwork, he will follow in a long line of major tenors that have dominated the opera at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

The opera first premiered with the ROH on Oct. 17, 1955, in a production starring Ramon Vinay in his signature role. According to the company’s archives, Vinay’s interpretations at ROH would be but few.

Dimiter Uzunov would be the one to follow suit in 1960 as the tragic Moor. From there Mario Del Monaco, another famed Otello, would get a run in 1962.

James McCracken would take over the role in 1964, 1965, and 1967. Richard Cassilly took over in 1968 before McCracken came back to the opera in 1969 and 1971.

Jon Vickers’ famed interpretation would come to the 1972 and the tenor would reprise the role again in 1977 and 1980. In between, Carlo Cossutta sang “Otello” in 1974 and again in 1977 and 1978.

Then came Plácido Domingo, who dominated the role at the Royal Opera House between 1980 and 1992. His last recorded performance of the work with the company came on Nov. 2, 1992.

From there Vladimir Atlanov, Vladimir Bogachov, José Cura, Dennis O’Neill, Ben Heppner, and Aleksandrs Antonenko would be the company’s leading men. The Kirov Opera also brought two performances of the opera to the ROH in 2001 with Vladimir Galouzine in the lead role.

Kaufmann is slated for a total of six performances with Gregory Kunde singing three as well.