South African director-designer Brett Bailey is once again teaming up with Belgian composer Fabrizio Cassol and Serbian conductor Premil Petrovic (No Borders Orchestra), for a new adaptation on Verdi’s operatic masterpiece, OTELLO in 2024. This follows their critically acclaimed and highly successful production of Verdi’s MACBETH that toured thirty-two cities on six continents between 2014 and 2016. Joining them is South African choral arranger Bongani Magatyana.

OTELLO unfolds in a region on the frontline of the climate crisis, where environmental defenders face violent incursions by prospectors, loggers, commercial farmers and crime syndicates. 

Desdemona: a fierce environmental and human rights activist battling for the survival of her community. She regards forest as her body.

Iago: a corrupted official and self-styled Übermensch, intent on crushing the civil order he despises, and cultivating the landscape of instability in which his profiteering thrives.

Otello, torn between them, a commander of the Federal Police force taking on the invaders. Iago's insidious conspiracy finds fertile ground in the suppressed trauma of betrayal and violence that Otello experienced in his youth…

The libretto has been re-written and the production designed for a fast-paced, visually striking, poetical staging. Fabrizio’s score for an ensemble of six South African opera singers and eleven musicians from the Balkans and South Africa (a string quintet, four horns, percussion and electronics) will be conducted by Premil. 

Otello - a world on fire… this poetically staged OTELLO is tightly focussed on the dynamics of agony, rage and cruelty between the main characters casting a lens on misogyny, domestic violence, environmental collapse and the plunder of natural resources in the shadows of headlines.

Currently seeking co-producers and presenters for the premiere in 2024/2025.



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Director & Designer : Brett Bailey 

Composer : Fabrizio Cassol

Conductor : Premil Petrovic

Lighting designer : Felice Ross