Venice, 1570. With the moon glowing brightly, a veiled figure slips furtively out of a gondola and disappears into the night. It's Desdemona, cherished daughter of Venetian nobleman Brabantio, risking all and defying convention to elope with Othello, the proud Moor who is one of Venice's most celebrated mercenaries. As the lovers seal their union in a secluded chapel, watching over them is Iago, who begins to plot the lovers' downfall. For Othello has chosen the well-bred and charming Cassio as his right-hand man, rather than the jealous Iago who has served him faithfully for a decade. Told of the secret wedding by Iago and Desdemona's embittered suitor Roderigo, Brabantio dies broken-hearted, but first warns Othello that his daughter may well deceive him too. When the Turkish empire declares war, Othello and his army are sent to the Italian garrison in Cyprus. Here the newlyweds enjoy their first night of passion, but their fragile love cannot withstand Iago's scheming manipulations.