Otello Again

  1. Tom Wright
    Tom Wright
    My current obsession with mandolin dates from about the spring of 2010, when I felt a need to bone up on Otello well in advance of a performance with Riccardo Muti and CSO. I would be playing with other mandolins in a group of 6 and did not want to be a weak link, so I started work early and along the way rediscovered my 5-string electric and eventually bought a 10-string acoustic.

    Three and some years later I am again playing Otello (with Lyric Opera, Chicago), but this time I am using my favorite instrument, my 10-string, for its big sound and playing comfort. That alone is a pleasure, but I also get to be in costume, on stage, playing from memory. It is a satisfying return to start, with my new instrument and some improved playing skills.

    A sidebar here---in all the times I have played mandolin with CSO or other, no conductor has ever asked about the instrument I am using at the time. Sometimes I used the orchestra instrument, a clunky Serbian-style bent-top, a couple of times I used my Fender FM52E with a small amp, and twice I used the 10-string before this. The lesson is play the one you like.
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