Set in a former industrial plant, the Argyle Works on Little Barr Street, Othello was Birmingham Opera Company's most challenging production to date. Six years before the RSC cast a black actor as Iago, Birmingham Opera Company's production featured Keel Watson as Iago and Ronald Samm as Othello. Ronald was the first black tenor to sing the title role in the UK.

General Othello (Ronald Samm). 

Keel Watson (Iago) and Ronald Samm (Othello) in Birmingham Opera Company's 2009 production of Othello.

"The first and maybe most important thing is that the audience arrives at an inner city industrial space, it's an enormous, slightly dilapidated, disused factory that has no associations with theatre. It's nothing to do with a temple of art." - Graham Vick 

Othello (Ronald Samm) moments before he kills his wife Desdemona (Stephanie Corley).

Available on BBC iPlayer in 2011, Othello received possibly the best review you can get in the 'on demand' age: "First time I've watched 2 1/2 hours of opera in one go! Was excellent: I didn't forward once :) #feelingcultured #tellyothello 

Hailed by critics as one of the hits of the season, everything about it was unexpected.


Extracts from Verdi: The Director's Cut, The Culture Show and Othello - all courtesy of the BBC.

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