Posts with the label Tosca
Showing posts with label Tosca. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tosca. Show all posts

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Tosca, Royal Opera House | Review

Royal Opera House 
Reviewed on Monday 27th May 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 

The Act One finale of Puccini's swooping opera has got to be up there on the list of the best theatrical moments ever. The curtain comes down on Scarpia singing his menacing lament and we enter the first interval feeling utterly wrapped up in this glorious production; a feeling which continues until the very end. 

Kristine Opolais strongly performs Tosca, with all the shrieks needed and a wonderfully characterised lovers tiff in act one where she is a flirty and and playful diva. At times her vocals feel a little light purely due to the power of Vittorio Grigòlo's booming Caravadossi but overall the vocals are as soaring and emotive as you desire. Opolais balances the diva and naive sides well both characterisation and vocal performance.

Grigolo gets the passion and vulnerability of Caravadossi to feel natural and all-encompassing at once. The tenor gloriously performs Puccini's music finding explosive moments at the top of his range, as well as drawing us in with his highly controlled legato and dynamics; E lucevan le stelle is a particular, chill-inducing highlight.

Ironically it is a delight to see and hear Bryn Terfel as he brings the cruel, lascivious character of Scarpia to life. Despite being one of the most evil opera villains, one can't help but want him on stage more as his performance is so strong. The role requires not only serious vocal chops, but serious acting ones as well, Terfel provides both to create a perfect performance.

Paul Brown's set seems to get more beautiful with each act. Beginning in the Church, there are hints of magic and mystery, as well as small details of the trails being faced in the outside world. Scarpia's apartment is big, dark and overwhelming. Bookshelves devoid of books and an intimidating statue of a man crushing an opponent are signs of the way this cruel man runs his life. The final act is the barest of them all, featuring sharp angles in muted tones, the emotion is really the focus. Mark Henderson's lighting helps bring to life the love and hated which seeps through this production.

Alexander Joel's conducting brings out every ounce of tenderness and cruelty from the divine score as the Royal Opera House Orchestra soar through every moment. Jonathan Kent's production of Tosca is a must-see and is a perfect introduction to the drama and beauty of opera. 

photo credit: Catherine Ashmore

Tosca, Royal Opera House | Review

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Friday, 23 March 2018

Tosca (Welsh National Opera Tour), Mayflower Theatre | Review

Tosca (Welsh National Opera Tour)
Mayflower Theatre 
Reviewed on Thursday 22nd March 2018 by Victoria Hayward 

Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre is a well presented 90 year old theatre with excellent acoustics and architectural surroundings. This provided the perfect setting for Puccini’s Tosca. After its first performance in Rome 118 years ago, Puccini’s Tosca is brought to life by the phenomenal Welsh National Opera (WNO), bringing a diverse audience along with it.

Tosca is divided into three acts with two intervals. The curtain opened and conveyed the dimly lit church of Saint Andrea Della Valle. This is where we meet the first of our two lead gentlemen: Mario Cavaradossi played by the truly wonderful tenor Hector Sandoval; who is more than qualified after singing the title role of Don Carlos twice in Moscow. Hector’s Mario is a talented passionate lover, embroiled in a love so deep with his beau Floria Tosca. 

Floria is played by our very own Hampshire leading lady Claire Rutter. Claire plays the role in a bouncy, vibrant and refreshing way and able to switch from lover to murderer easily and with conviction.

To Mario’s Tenor, Baron Scarpia’s baritone matched unequivocally. Mark S Doss’ portrayal of the venomous villain owned the production. With his masculinity taking over the stage every time he took his place, he delivered a strong yet vulnerable character. 

The magnificent orchestra during this production were expertly conducted by Timothy Burke who led them through the stunning and complex score. It was beautifully rehearsed which was clear from the impeccable timing. 

One criticism would be that during the first act the orchestra out-volumed the singers on stage, although, this seemed to have been corrected by Act 2.

We must show gratitude to the scenery and stage design produced by Cardiff Theatrical Services. The glorious sets throughout really took the audience on a journey seen through the characters eyes.

If you, like me, have never been to the opera, you should not feel intimidated. The whole production was surtitled (not subtitled, as I have learnt) so you are able to see where the story is leading. The screens are above the stage and are placed discreetly so you are not drawn away from the performance.

Tosca is a great introduction to opera. It has an incredible score, an excellent cast and a flawless story. Filled with love, murder and tragedy it’s a whirlwind production sure to keep you on the edge of your seats. The audience were gripped from the very beginning.

I will leave you with this quote:

With a thousand kisses I shall seal your eyes,
and call you by a thousand names of love.

photo credit: Richard Hubert Smith

Tosca (Welsh National Opera Tour), Mayflower Theatre | Review

Friday, 23 March 2018