As we were working on the the English-language translation of the new Cantine Ceci website over the summer, we were reminded that the winery was founded in 1938 by the grandfather of the current generation of Cecis who run the estate: Otello Ceci.
Otello is the Italian version of the English name Othello, a name that’s not very common in English. It’s not very common in Italian either but it was an extremely popular name around the turn of the 20th century in Parma.
And there’s a reason for that.
Giuseppe Verdi (above), the great Italian composer of lyric operas, was born and lived in Parma province. And “Otello,” his second-to-last opera, was one of his most popular.
Not only would “Otello” prove to be one of his masterworks, but it was one of his most anticipated operas because he had to be cajoled out of retirement to write it. And it would ultimately take him about 6 years to finish it.
When it was finally produced in Milan in 1887, it was an instant and smashing success, a blockbuster of its time.
And so by the time that Otello Ceci was born, toward the end of the 19th century, the name of the play was synonymous with Parma pride.
No one really knows where the name Othello comes from.
Shakespeare based his tragedy “Othello, the Moor of Venice,” on a short story written in Italian in the 16th century. But in the original tale, the lead character has no name (only one character, Desdemona, is named).
It was Shakespeare that gave the “Moor” his name “Othello.”
It’s the story of a commander in the Venetian military at the time when the Turkish army threatened the Republic of Venice with war. He is ultimately betrayed by one of his lieutenants, Iago.
Both Shakespeare’s play and Verdi’s opera are among the greatest works of literature and music in the western canon.
Verdi continues to play an important role in the Ceci family story, winery, and wines. And we’ll be featuring posts about Verdi here on the Ceci blog.
Image from Wikipedia.