13 October 2009

La Tosca

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of driving into Albuquerque to attend the screening of the live Metropolitan Opera production of Tosca via satellite. This year they're also beaming live performances to 42 other countries. It’s incredibly exciting to be watching a live presentation that I could only dream about seeing in real life. Sadly, producing great opera is very expensive – hence the tickets are very expensive. So the opportunity to drive to a local theater after purchasing my ticket online is irresistible.
For the first time in 25 years, the Met prepared a new production of Tosca after using Franco Zeffirelli’s production for so long. There were certainly critics, especially opening night, but I thought the cast was excellent the performances were believable and sets and costumes realistic. The intermission interviews are always enjoyable and this time they were conducted by the delightful Susan Graham.

I’m not an expert on opera but I know enough to know what I like. Tosca, is one of my favorite stories and I love Puccini’s music; it’s dramatic action and it's romantic. I’m familiar with the story and still found myself with my fists balled up during some very dramatic scenes. Karita Matilla did a wonderful job as the diva and along with her Argentine tenor provided a very believable chemistry. The evil Scarpia was lecherous, diabolical and oily.
The new production has several changes that old timers will notice but I don’t think the heart of the story or the composer’s intentions were harmed in any way.

I will miss seeing Aida and Turandot but there will be six others to choose from in the coming months and I can’t wait.

Check your local theatres for a real treat or check: http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/broadcast/hd_events_current.aspx


A.Fanny said...

Thanks for the review. What a booster you are! You ought to get on the Santa Fe Opera fundraising committee - second thought, looks like you IS!

You're probably an example of a person who is not attached to the "sacred" tradition of Tosca staging, so you can appreciate the strength of the story even in a new format. Puccini, after all, was a pretty good dramatist needless to say, but I do wonder if the original play was done with the bit where she places the candles by Scarpia's head, etc. For Butterfly Puccini did lift the staging of her standing all night waiting for Pinkerton directly from the original play. That was one scene that inspired him to compose it. But all these old warhorses can get stuck in cliche and I appreciate a new vision for them sometimes. I'll see the Encore broadcast on October 28.

moi said...

I was going to ask you about the hullabaloo surrounding opening night at the Met. I remember my mother saying Tosca was her favorite opera. I just know the perfume :o)

Natalie Dessay rehearsing in Santa Fe 2008

Sempre libra Millenium park 2008

La Sonnambula Finale

Dessay in Santa Fe