Otello, Verdi's penultimate opera, was composed more than a dozen years after Aida, which he had intended to be his last work for the stage. He was persuaded by his publisher Giulio Ricordi to work with the librettist Arrigo Boito on an adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello; the resulting work is one of the supreme examples of Italian opera. Greeted with enormous enthusiasm at its premiere at La Scala in 1887, Otello immediately went on to huge success in all the major opera houses of the world. The richness of its musical and dramatic inventiveness is largely unmatched in Verdi's output, and its title role is perhaps the most demanding for the tenor in any Italian opera. This volume contains articles describing how Verdi was persuaded to write the opera and extracts from the extended correspondence between Verdi and Boito during the period of composition, as well as a detailed musical commentary and a historical survey of important productions and performers of the principal roles. The guide includes the full libretto with English translation, a discography, a bibliography, and DVD and website guides.