Caballe, Carreras and Pons in top form in an excellent Tosca
Tosca is my all-time favourite Puccini opera, not just for the unforgettable music but for the complex characterisation of Scarpia. While I do prefer the 1992, 1976, 1984 and 1985 production, this Tosca is excellent and most interesting.
The music right from the first note right to the intense climax, which here was quite riveting, is wonderful throughout, and the story is swiftly told and compelling as it should be. The orchestra play powerfully and the conducting is rock solid, if a tad too fast at the beginning of act 2.
The costumes also impress, Tosca's dresses are very opulent, and Scarpia looks very evil here which I loved. The sets in acts 1 and 3 are both beautiful and set the scene very well. Act 2 is a little too confined and gaudy for my liking however. The sound makes the music even more powerful than it already is, and the camera work is very good. Picture quality could've perhaps been clearer.
The staging throughout I loved. Recondita Armonia and Vissi D'Arte are done very movingly, as are the act 1 and act 3 duets. Te Deum is appropriately chilling, but the most interesting bit was the simple gesture in Scarpia's death scene where Tosca pats Scarpia's cheek, which I have never seen done before and very much liked.
The performances are excellent. Montserrat Caballe is exceptional, dramatically riveting and the role shows off all the things that Caballe is so good at. Jose Carreras is an ideal match, ardent, poignant and with a touch of arrogance. Juan Pons I was worried would be too sympathetic, but actually he is on top form vocally and is suitably repellent.
In conclusion, excellent. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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