Otello has been recorded complete on disc and film a number of times since the Second World War; but most music-guide reviewers contend that a recording made of a 1947 radio broadcast of the opera by Arturo Toscanini and featuring singers as Herva Nelli, Ramón Vinay and Giuseppe Valdengo, is musically (if not in terms of sound quality) the best of these versions. The Toscanini account has been released on commercial LPs and on CD in a digitally remastered form. In addition, performances of Otello were captured live as early as the 1920s (at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London) and the 1930s (at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City, the latter via the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts). They, too, are available on CD reissues. A wide variety of stage performances dating from the 1950s to the present day are also to be had on CD or on DVD.
La Scala orchestra and chorus
(Otello, film directed by Franco Zeffirelli. In the film, some of the music was omitted, but the soundtrack album of the film, released on EMI, features the complete opera.)
Individual arias, duets and scenes from Otello have been committed to disc by many celebrated tenors, baritones and sopranos since acceptable audio technology was first developed in the early 20th century. The best of these recorded extracts have been reissued on CD and make for fascinating comparative listening. Recordings made in the early 1900s by the creators of the roles of Otello and Iago, namely Francesco Tamagno and Victor Maurel, are among those now available in digital formats.
^Unk: "I still rank the Toscanini Otello with the famous Scala Tosca recording under De Sabata, as one of the finest opera recordings ever made — not of course comparable technically with the modern stereophonic achievements — but possessing a ..." in Opera (London), Vol. 20, 1969. p. 1080