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December 10, 2016
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All the world’s a stage

The cast of “Otello” takes a final bow at the Tusten Theatre in Narrowsburg, NY.
Photo by Kent Fairfield

Switching gears, I made my way to Narrowsburg to catch the final performance of “Otello,” presented by the Delaware Valley Opera Company (DVO). The first of three attractions in the company’s “Shakespeare Sings” season, the production. beautifully staged at the Tusten Theatre, clearly illustrates the dawning of a new day for the organization, as the company “welcomes back Carol Castel as artistic director, bringing with her a raft of new ideas that will inject the old company with new life” ( ).

Castel’s design and stage direction were solid, and the Sunday matinee was well attended, based on “reviews and word of mouth” (according to my sources). Since the lead singers are (mostly) triple cast, I can only discuss the performances that I observed, but that said... they were very, very good. Ed Moran was evil incarnate as the demonic troublemaker Iago, and his interpretation, true to Shakespeare’s tale, served as an ideal backdrop for Giuseppe Verdi’s Italian version of deception, secrets, romance and high drama that the opera world is famous for.

Barbara Allentuch (as the beleaguered, misunderstood Desdemona) has a beautifully trained voice and her tortured trials and tribulations, laced with betrayal (of course), were effective, eliciting the requisite emotion that a lesser diva might not have been up to. Jacqueline Rose’s vocal ability was lovely, and left me wanting more, since her character is off stage more than on, along with minor players Jeremy Griffin, Dan Buccheri, Giorgios Papadimitriou and Scott Silipino.

I found Juan Blanco’s performance as the young (and insidiously double-crossed) Cassio to be amazing. His gorgeous voice (and face) were ideally cast, his acting convincing to a fault, and his stage presence made it clear that he is undoubtedly at home in front of an audience. Again, I wished that Blanco had even more story line, since much of his action takes place behind the scenes, but each time he sang, I was transported in time and place. I can’t enthuse enough about this young man’s impeccable talent.