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date: 26 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Orson Welles was as multifaceted as Shakespeare in drawing his material from manifold sources across multiple media. His 1952 film Othello strategically echoes Verdi and Boito’s 1887 opera Otello, and thereby vindicates his adaptation’s liberties by triangulating and transmediating his sources. Invoking Verdi also permitted Welles to contrast his own Shakespeare films with those of Laurence Olivier, whom Welles dismissed as merely a transcriber of stage versions. In contrast, Welles described his own editing practice as being more akin to musical composition. Attending to Welles’s recurrent annexation of opera offers a more suggestive account of his creative process and ultimate achievement.

Keywords: Key terms, Welles, Othello, Verdi and Boito, Otello, opera, transmediating sources, editing, creative process, Olivier

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