Otello discography

This is a discography of Giuseppe Verdi's penultimate opera, Otello. It was first performed at La Scala, Milan on 5 February 1887.

Otello has been recorded complete on disc and film a number of times since the Second World War; but most music-guide reviewers contend that a recording made of a 1947 radio broadcast of the opera by Arturo Toscanini and featuring singers as Herva Nelli, Ramón Vinay and Giuseppe Valdengo, is musically (if not in terms of sound quality) the best of these versions.[1] The Toscanini account has been released on commercial LPs and on CD in a digitally remastered form. In addition, performances of Otello were captured live as early as the 1920s (at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London) and the 1930s (at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City, the latter via the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts). They, too, are available on CD reissues. A wide variety of stage performances dating from the 1950s to the present day are also to be had on CD or on DVD.

Audio and video recordings

Year Cast
Opera House and Orchestra
1931–1932 Nicola Fusati,
Maria Carbone,
Apollo Granforte
Carlo Sabajno,
La Scala Orchestra and Chorus
CD: Preiser Records
Cat: 20012
1947 Ramón Vinay,
Herva Nelli,
Giuseppe Valdengo
Arturo Toscanini,
NBC Symphony Orchestra and chorus
CD: RCA Victor Cat: 60302
1954 Mario Del Monaco,
Renata Tebaldi,
Aldo Protti
Alberto Erede,
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia orchestra and chorus
CD: Decca
1959 Mario Del Monaco,
Gabriella Tucci,
Tito Gobbi
Alberto Erede,
NHK Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
CD: Opera d'Oro, OPD-1160.
1960 Jon Vickers,
Leonie Rysanek,
Tito Gobbi
Tullio Serafin,
Rome Opera Orchestra and Chorus
CD: RCA Victor
Cat: 663180
1961 Mario Del Monaco,
Renata Tebaldi,
Aldo Protti
Herbert von Karajan,
Wiener Philharmoniker and Wiener Staatsopernchor
CD: Decca
Cat: 028941161826
1968 James McCracken,
Dame Gwyneth Jones,
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Sir John Barbirolli,
New Philharmonia Orchestra, Ambrosian Chorus
Cat: 65296
1973 Jon Vickers,
Mirella Freni,
Peter Glossop
Herbert von Karajan,
Berliner Philharmoniker and Chor der Deutsche Oper Berlin
Cat: CMS 769 3082
1976 Plácido Domingo,
Mirella Freni,
Piero Cappuccilli
Carlos Kleiber,
La Scala Orchestra and Chorus
CD: Opera d'Oro
Cat: OPD 7005
1977 Carlo Cossutta,
Margaret Price,
Gabriel Bacquier
Sir Georg Solti,
Wiener Philharmoniker, Wiener Staatsopernchor and Wiener Sängerknaben
CD: Decca
Cat: 440-045-2
1978 Plácido Domingo,
Renata Scotto,
Sherrill Milnes
James Levine,
National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus
CD: RCA Victor
Cat: 74321395012
1978 Jon Vickers,
Renata Scotto,
Cornell MacNeil
James Levine,
The Metropolitan Opera
(Recorded live on 25 September)
DVD: Met Opera
Cat: 811357012185
1986 Plácido Domingo,
Katia Ricciarelli,
Justino Díaz
Lorin Maazel,
La Scala orchestra and chorus
(Otello, film directed by Franco Zeffirelli. In the film, some of the music was omitted, but the soundtrack album of the film, released on EMI, features the complete opera.)
Cat: 0 27616 88420 6
1987 Plácido Domingo,
Anna Tomowa-Sintow,
Renato Bruson
Zubin Mehta,
Choir and Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera
(Recorded live in May 1987)
CD: Orfeo
Cat: C698072I
1991 Luciano Pavarotti,
Kiri Te Kanawa,
Leo Nucci
Sir Georg Solti,
Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
CD: Decca (London)
Cat: 433 669-2
1992 Plácido Domingo,
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,
Sergei Leiferkus
Georg Solti,
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden Chorus and Orchestra
DVD:Kultur Video
Cat: 0 32031 14929 8
1994 Plácido Domingo,
Cheryl Studer,
Sergei Leiferkus
Myung-whun Chung,
Opéra Bastille, Paris
CD: Deutsche Grammophon
Cat: 439 805-2
1995 Plácido Domingo,
Renée Fleming,
James Morris
James Levine,
Metropolitan Opera orchestra and chorus
DVD: Deutsche Grammophon
Cat: 00440 073 0929
2001 Plácido Domingo,
Barbara Frittoli,
Leo Nucci
Riccardo Muti,
La Scala orchestra and chorus
Cat: 8 2412100019 6
2008Aleksandrs Antonenko,
Marina Poplavskaya,
Carlos Álvarez
Riccardo Muti,
Vienna Philharmonic,
Salzburg Festival 2008
Blu-ray: Naxos
Cat: 701504


Individual arias, duets and scenes from Otello have been committed to disc by many celebrated tenors, baritones and sopranos since acceptable audio technology was first developed in the early 20th century. The best of these recorded extracts have been reissued on CD and make for fascinating comparative listening. Recordings made in the early 1900s by the creators of the roles of Otello and Iago, namely Francesco Tamagno and Victor Maurel, are among those now available in digital formats.



  1. Unk: "I still rank the Toscanini Otello with the famous Scala Tosca recording under De Sabata, as one of the finest opera recordings ever made — not of course comparable technically with the modern stereophonic achievements — but possessing a ..." in Opera (London), Vol. 20, 1969. p. 1080
  2. Recordings on operadis-opera-discography.org.uk


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