I wrote a piece about the rural Virginia-based Castleton Festival for Opera News, which appeared in the magazine’s June issue. It’s now online. I returned from a month of travel to catch the last of the Castleton performances, a scrappy and often exciting production of Verdi’s Otello, with soprano Joyce El-Khoury in the role of Desdemona. El-Khoury built through the afternoon, to a powerful and nuanced characterization in the last act, with wonderful pianissimos and delicate but fully supported singing. As Iago, Javier Arrey was another standout. Arrey looks like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, and he occasionally struggled to project genuine malevolence. But the singing was gorgeous, and the Credo filled with creepy twists and turns of spite, cynicism and loathing. All the optimism in my Opera News piece seems fully justified based on last week’s final performance of the season.