Stunning visually, with magnificent music and fine performances
This 1985 production is not my favourite production of Tosca, I do prefer the 1992 and 1976 ones. That said, it is still great. The story still has its impact, it is still as powerful, dark, tragic and complex as it ever was. Puccini's music is magnificent, it is a example of an opera where I have so many favourites but I always find something else to like every time I watch it. The characters are still compelling, especially Caveradossi.
The conducting and orchestra give real musical flavour to this amazing operatic score, while Zeffirelli's direction is clever with some interesting pieces of staging. Visually, the production is stunning. The backgrounds and sets are wonderfully lavish, as are the costumes and the camera work is also really good.
The performances are fine on the whole. Hildegard Behrens I can understand why people may find her too German or too fair, but she has a great voice, acts very well and manages to do something really special with how she sings and acts Visse D'Arte and when she stabs Scarpia. Cornell McNeill is not my initial idea of Scarpia, but he has a noble voice and is suitably evil and repellent. I agree about his utterance of "Tosca, you made me forget God", that line always gives me chills and it did here. Placido Domingo stole the show though, he is consistently wonderful but this is one of my favourite performances with him as Caveradossi, he is masculine, poignant with a hint of arrogance.
In conclusion, love the opera, love the production despite it not being 100% perfect. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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