|Angela Gheorghiu as Tosca, photo |
Luc Bondy's production was a conscious reaction against the "traditional" Tosca productions. It was booed vociferously when it first opened in 2009. But over the years it's "evolved" in that different singers have changed the blocking, subtly or unsubtly, to suit their own tastes. Gheorghiu arrived onstage in Act One and it was obvious that she'd gotten a new set of costumes (the train in Act Two now resembles a royal wedding train) and that her Floria Tosca was a much softer, more coquettish personality than Bondy's original conception of the role. She ignored some of the original blocking, like fanning herself after she murdered Scarpia, or slashing Cavaradossi's painting.
|Photo by Ken Howard|
Roberto Aronica (Cavaradossi) has a large if somewhat muscled voice. It's not very beautiful and unlike, say Franco Corelli or Luciano Pavarotti he isn't able to float soft notes in "Recondita armonia" or "E lucevan le stelle." He's not a star, but the performance was professional and competent, and I'll settle for that. He does have squillo.
Željko Lučić must be one of the most over-exposed singers on the international scene. Heavy hitting baritone role? He's there. His voice really isn't to my taste -- it tends to get stuck in his throat, but he did seem more engaged as Scarpia than is the norm with him. I liked the staging during "Visse d'arte," where Tosca is singing her heart out and Scarpia is sleeping on the couch. Otherwise, Scarpia no longer does much of the original blocking -- no more dry-humping the Madonna statue in Act One, and the business with the hookers in Act Two is now more of a casual hang out rather than active servicing. Eh. He gets the job done.
Overall the evening was one of the better Toscas I've attended in all my years of operagoing. ISince Gheorghiu now limits her performances so severely, I'm happy when she showed up last night she gave it her all. Maybe she does live for love and art after all. And clothes. She definitely lives for those tiaras and gowns. But hey, when you've got it, flaunt it.