I certainly was very moved and intrigued while watching your play today at Round Top. It was probably the most fitting performance to close your work at your center there. It was really excellent, and an indication of more to come.
Regarding the play — I am glad you added the section about the childhood relation of the young Verdi and Margherita, which was really beautifully done, and the stated shock of the death of Margherita and the children, and the descriptions of the young Verdi seeing the impact from the deaths during the war. This definitely suggested background regarding his personal turmoil. There were probably more changes that have been made, but I had not seen or heard the full play before today. I thought the acting was excellent all the way around, and the characters were really presented fully and exactly as Malouf said: “You really care about these people”. Yourself, Boito, Verdi and Santa were very strong. The music was wonderful, and the use of the chorus was just right, and the shift from comedy suddenly to tragedy was quite uncompromising and severe. As it was meant to be.
I was really surprised by the ending, and wonder how you thought to do this. The entire play shifts completely and irrevocably after the letter is read. And the letter is read very well. There is no going back, everything changes with the letter. And then the scene of Othello is played out, with Santa and Verdi and the character of Othello killing that which was most important to him – a curse, or a failing.
The message is the strength of the Verdi characters, and the tragedies they portray and present. It is interesting to consider what Verdi and Boito say in their discussion of presenting the Shakespeare characters, which they describe as having a character which is not “Italian”. I don’t remember exactly how you put it, but these sections were very quotable – it would be interesting to see the dialogue of the play.
I wondered what was the opera that Boito said they could not reveal …
In any case, congratulations on the determination of your work – you did seem exhausted and devastated as the play continued, and that fit the part powerfully. However, was this just excellent acting here? I am sure you are tired IN FACT, and now can take a 5minute break as you move onto the competition!