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Main page » Fiction literature » Recording of Donmar Warehouse’s ‘Othello’ (2007)

Recording of Donmar Warehouse’s ‘Othello’ (2007)


The cast of the Donmar Warehouse’s sellout production of Othello has recorded a CD version of the play for Naxos AudioBooks. “Othello” ran between November 2007 and February 2008 in London’s West End. The cast featured Chiwetel Ejiofor as Othello, Ewan McGregor as Iago, and Kelly Reilly as the Desdemona. Chiwetel Ejiofor won the 2008 Olivier Award for best actor for his performance, beating out Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart.

The cast spent three days during the last week of the stage production recording the CD. Michael Grandage, the director of the stage production, oversaw the transfer from stage to audio recording.

Prior being released on CD, the recording was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in early May.

The CD also features Adam Cork’s music written specifically for the stage production. According to a Naxos press release, “The idea was to reproduce as closely as possible the stage production, while making the most of the strengths of audiobook/radio – very intimate close-ups and intensity of dialogue.”

2 hours 40 minutes

Bitrate: 128 kb/s


Roderigo ...... Edward Bennett
Iago ...... Ewan McGregor
Brabantio/Gratiano ...... James Laurenson
Othello ...... Chiwetel Ejiofor
Cassio ...... Tom Hiddleston
First Officer/Messenger/First Cyprus Gentlemen ...... Alastair Sims
First Senator/Second Cyprus Gentleman ...... David Mara
Duke of Venice/Lodovico ...... Michael Hadley
Desdemona ...... Kelly Reilly
Montano ...... Michael Jenn
Emilia ...... Michelle Fairley
Bianca ...... Martina Laird

Music: Adam Cork

Director: Michael Grandage



Recording of Donmar Warehouse’s ‘Othello’ (2007)


Did you hear Othello on Radio 3 on Sunday? It was the highly acclaimed recent production from the Donmar in London, the one where people who went to see Ewan McGregor because he’s a film star came away stunned by the power of his performance as Iago, where people who go to see all the Shakespeare they can marvelled at the depth and dignity of Chewetel Ejiofor as Othello, the one for which tickets were like gold.


Well, there it was on Sunday, free, and it was everything all the critics had said. It was the kind of production that makes the lines live, where you hear more than you knew was there, where you forget this is acting and just see the people. It swept you up, brought you inside its every minute.

All those fools who want to take Shakespeare off the national curriculum had their rebuttal here. Even those idiots who wonder what Radio 3 is for had their answer.

So don’t write to say this is minority stuff, or you don’t see the value of the licence fee. Only a properly funded public service broadcaster is going to bring great work in outstanding new performances to the masses, and the masses deserve the best.

There is no necessary distinction between quality and popularity. What mass audiences like is not necessarily rubbish. By the same token, some things only small audiences like are worth their place in any schedule because a) a small radio audience is still something like 100,000 listeners, while b) it is insulting to assume Shakespeare is only for posh people, and c) things that start with small audiences can be the place for new ideas and talents to grow.

Gillian Reynolds, The Daily Telegraph
The cast of the sellout Othello at the Donmar Warehouse spent three days recording this version. Working with Michael Grandage, the director of the stage production, they had to rely on their voices alone for dramatic impact. Ewan McGregor’s Iago keeps the plot moving with urgent passion rather than cool and measured calculation as he whips Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Othello into a jealous and murderous frenzy against his new bride (Kelly Reilly, oozing sex with a honeyed come-to-bed voice). Yet McGregor’s interpretation throws no new light on Iago’s true motives as Ejifor brings terrifying power to his character’s disintegration. For the actors’ views, watch the accompanying DVD of cast interviews.

Karen Robinson, The Sunday Times

Audio sample:

Recording of Donmar Warehouse’s ‘Othello’ (2007) Recording of Donmar Warehouse’s ‘Othello’ (2007) Recording of Donmar Warehouse’s ‘Othello’ (2007) Recording of Donmar Warehouse’s ‘Othello’ (2007)
Recording of Donmar Warehouse’s ‘Othello’ (2007)


Othello-BBC.mp3 (146 MB):
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Othello-BBC.ogg (88.87 MB):
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Tags: audiobook, audio CD, play, drama, Ejiofor, McGregor, Reilly, Othello, Donmar, making, manipulates, enrages, Cassio, suspicious, Desdemona