Tosca evaluate: Stunning Royal Opera staging of Puccini traditional boasts very good villain | Theatre | Entertainment | EUROtoday

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Jonathan Kent’s beautiful manufacturing of Puccini’s Tosca was first seen on the Royal Opera House in 2006 and that is already its 14th revival. The music and the dramatic plot make Tosca one of many best of all operas and Kent’s staging can’t be bettered.

George Bernard Shaw described opera as “when a tenor and soprano want to make love, but are prevented from doing so by a baritone,” and Tosca is a very effective instance of this.

The story is ready in Rome round 1800 the place the 2 lovers are the painter Cavaradossi and the singer Tosca; the person who seeks to return between them is the depraved and highly effective Chief of Police Baron Scarpia, who lusts after Tosca. With Napoleon’s troops making an attempt to retake Rome from the Italians, political friction is added by Scarpia’s royalist views clashing with the lovers’ republicanism.

The depth of the plot grows and proves deadly for all three principal characters, with homicide, firing squad and suicide all enjoying their elements as Puccini’s music fantastically embraces love, violence and even a little bit humour to lighten the temper when vital.

Lithuanian soprano Ausrine Stundyte made a superb impression within the demanding title position, switching from coquettish flirting together with her lover to jealous anger as she wrongly suspects him of infidelity, earlier than her temper give method to the emotional anguish Scarpia inflicts on her.

Argentine tenor Marcelo Puente gave a superb account of himself, notably in his duets with Stundyte, however maybe essentially the most putting efficiency was that of Italian baritone Gabriele Viviani as Scarpia. This position is by far my favorite operatic villain, demanding each a robust voice and nice bodily presence as he imposes his authority and utter immorality on others.

These three dominate the opera, however two of the supporting solid additionally made a superb impression of their a lot smaller roles. Armenian baritone Grisha Martirosyan carried out nicely as escaped political prisoner Angelotti, whereas British bass-baritone Henry Waddington additionally gave a superb account of himself as Sacristan of the church by which the primary act takes place. These singers gave glorious portrayals of the characters of the 2 males they performed, regardless of each roles being restricted.

While I’ve seen all the principle elements on this manufacturing sung with barely larger panache by world-class artistes, the general cohesion and concord of all the solid within the current manufacturing was as spectacular as ever for which Revival Director Lucy Bradley deserves a lot credit score.

My sole disappointment got here on the very finish when Tosca leaps to her dying from the ramparts on the roofs of the Castel Sant’Angelo. I’ve seen this carried out as all the pieces from an over-acted flamboyant act to a wonderful backflip, however Stundyte’s suicidal gesture was little greater than a tentative soar somewhat than an excellent leap. Tosca deserves a extra dramatic finish.

RATING: 4 stars

Box Office: or 020 7304 4000 (Four extra performances: 8, 12, 19 and 24 February 2024 earlier than Tosca returns in July)