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Verdi's Otello – Aria Code Episode 3

We All Have Demons, But Sometimes The Demons Have Us

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The legendary Plácido Domingo says he's not a jealous guy, but he must know something about it because he's played the part of Othello more than 200 times.

Shakespeare called jealousy the "green-eyed monster" and no opera captures what happens when that monster takes over better than Verdi's adaptation of the tragedy.

In this episode, host Rhiannon Giddens and her guests consider how jealousy always seems to know where to find us: at work, in our friendships, and of course, in love. Plácido Domingo takes you through his career-defining role, sharing the tragedy of a man undone by his demons, plus you'll hear him sing the complete aria "Dio mi potevi Scagliar" from the Metropolitan Opera stage.

The Guests

Plácido Domingo is not only Rhiannon's favorite singer, but he is also one of the most influential artists in the history of opera. He just celebrated fifty years of performing at the Met and has played the role of Otello (by his count) 225 times.

Robert L. Leahy is teaches at Weill Cornell Medical School and is the director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy in New York. He's written 27 books, including The Jealousy Cure.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson is an actor, playwright and director. He may best known for his work on TV and on Broadway, but this year he directed Othello for Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater.

Virginia Mason Vaughan is a member of the faculty at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. For more than three decades, she's studied the construct of race in Shakespeare's time and is the author of Othello: A Contextual History.

Thanks, too, to Justin Cunningham who read the part of Othello. He's a Julliard-trained actor and you'll see him next in the new Netflix series about the Central Park Five.


Aria Code is a new podcast that pulls back the curtain on some of the most famous arias in opera history, with insight from the biggest voices of our time, including Plácido Domingo, Diana Damrau, Sondra Radvanovsky, and many others.

Each episode dives into one aria — a feature for a single singer — and explores how and why these brief musical moments have imprinted themselves in our collective consciousness and what it takes to stand on the Met stage and sing them.

Hosted by Grammy Award-winner and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Rhiannon Giddens, Aria Code is produced by WQXR in partnership with The Metropolitan Opera. The team includes Merrin Lazyan, Brendan Francis Newnam, Matt Boynton, Ricardo Quiñones, Ania Grzesik, Khrista Rypl and Matt Abramovitz. Original music by Hannis Brown.

  • Verdi's Otello – Aria Code Episode 3

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