His departure presents a bigger than usual challenge to OONY and its director, Eve Queler. Otello is one of the hardest of Rossini's operas to cast: the score calls for four highly skilled bel canto tenors, including two who have high D-flats. Expert Rossini tenors are a rare breed as it is; finding one who knows this particular part and is available at short notice is a daunting prospect.
There's one currently active tenor who has recorded the role — Bruce Ford — and luckily enough, he was available and has agreed to step in.
Ford's tenor colleagues at the concert will include Robert McPherson (Iago), Kenneth Tarver (Rodrigo), and Gaston Rivero (who takes two minor yet difficult roles, of the Doge of Venice and a gondolier). Ruxandra Donose takes the role of Desdemona, with Maria Zifchak as her servant Emilia, Daniel Mobbs as Elmiro, and Bill Lagundino as Lucio. Maestra Queler conducts the Opera Orchestra of New York in this concert performance, which begins at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 17 in Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall. For more information, visit www.oony.org.