• Saturday, January 19, 2013 at Seven O' Clock PM
  • Century II Concert Hall

Verdi’s Otello

Saturday, January 19, 2013, 7:30pm – Century II Concert Hall

A Tragic Romantic Opera in Four Acts

Libretto in Italian by Arrigo Boito, based on Shakespeare’s tragedy.
Premiere: Milan, February 5, 1887

Parvan Bakardiev
Production Design
Margaret Ann Pent
Stage DirectorConductor
Shayna LeahyMartin Mazik
Set DesignStefan Pavlov
Lighting DesignDavid Neville
ChorusmasterEdward Lada
Wichita Grand Opera Orchestra and Chorus


OTELLO, governor of Cyprus, a Moor (tenor)Martin Iliev
IAGO, Otello’s ensign (baritone)Michael Nansel
DESDEMONA, Otello’s wife (soprano)Zvetelina Vassileva
CASSIO, Otello’s Captain (tenor)Dustin Peterson*
EMILIA, Desdemona’s lady in waiting (mezzo)Sarah Kraus
RODERIGO, a Venetian gentleman (tenor)Michael Morrow*
LODOVICO, Ambassador of Venice (bass)Vincent Connor+
MONTANO, former Governor of Cyprus (baritone)Charles Turley*
A HERALD, (baritone)Terry McManis*
CHORUS: People of Venice and Cyprus, soldiers, ladies-in-waiting
*WGO Resident Artists    †WGO Young Artists
Production and Artists subject to change



Star Bios


OtelloMartin Iliev made his U.S. debut as Cavaradossi in WGO’s unforgettable Tosca starring Samuel Ramey, who made his debut in his home state during that production. Now one of the world’s premiere spinto tenors, he is known across Italy, Germany, and Spain for the title roles of Don CarloOtello, and Siegfried, Manrico in Il Trovatore, and Siegmund in Die Walküre. Mr. Iliev is principal tenor at the Sofia (Bulgaria) National Opera, one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious opera houses. He headlined Sofia Opera’s recent tour of Japan, which included performances at the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Japan’s premiere opera house. This performance with Wichita Grand Opera is his U.S. debut as Otello.
DesdemonaMet Opera star Zvetelina Vassileva returns to the WGO following her outstanding performance as Leonora in last season’s Il Trovatore. Her recent performances include Desdemona at Royal Opera Covent Garden and at San Francisco Opera with Maestro Nicola Luisotti, Violetta in La Traviata and Leonora at The Met, and Elisabetta in Don Carlo at Sofia (Bulgaria) National Opera. Notable European engagements include Marenka in The Bartered Bride at Royal Opera House Covent Garden and Mimi in La Bohème with the Berlin Staatsoper. Ms. Vassileva also starred as Amelia in WGO’s 2007 Un Ballo in Maschera.
IagoSince his debut as a WGO Resident Artist in 2009’s Barber of Seville (with Joyce DiDonato), audience favorite Michael Nansel has taken on ever-more-difficult roles. Last season he delivered a superb performance as Count Di Luna in Il Trovatore. Previous appearances with the WGO include Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Count Danilo in The Merry Widow, and Belcore in The Elixir of Love. Mr. Nansel also recently debuted in the title role of Don Giovanni in Washington, DC.
CassioLast season Dustin Peterson made his Opera Colorado debut in the roles of Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro and Ruiz in Il Trovatore. An alumnus of WGO’s Young Artist Program, he previously appeared in major roles with the WGO as Camille de Rosillon in The Merry Widow and El Remendado in Carmen. Mr. Peterson has also performed with the Eutiner Festspiele in Germany and Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
EmiliaLast season, Sarah Kraus debuted with Opera Lancaster as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, and with Ash Lawn Opera as Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte. Sarah has performed with Des Moines Metro Opera as Maddalena in Rigoletto, Green Mountain Opera Festival as Flora in La Traviata, Tulsa Opera in the title role of Luisa Fernanda, and toured with Connecticut Opera as Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti and Opera Iowa as Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte.
Stage DirectorShayna Leahy returns to the WGO after directing last season’s production of Il Trovatore. She has previously directed WGO’s productions of Madama Butterfly (2010) and Aida (2009). Ms. Leahy is an assistant director for Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance program in New York, and leads an innovative opera education initiative in collaboration with the WGO.
Conductor (Otello)Martin Mázik is the principal conductor of the Slovakian National Opera in Bratislava. One of the busiest conductors in Europe, he is also a regular guest in opera houses throughout Germany, Austria, Spain, and Italy, along with several acclaimed guest appearances with the Tokyo Symphony. Otello is his tenth appearance with Wichita Grand Opera since his U.S. debut in 2004’s Don Giovanni.