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This is, in my opinion, the choice Tosca on blu ray. Kaufmann is great, of course, a bad actor nonetheless but vocally unbeatible, master of the mezzo voce. This Tosca is much better than his version with Angela Georghiu, largely because Emily Magee,is all Georghiu has never and will never be: a great actress with a truly, natural voice of impressive range and nuance. Still, Olivero's Tosca will never be surpassed, needless to say, but Magee's is arguably the best Tosca nowadays. Hampson's voice is a bit too light for Scarpia, but even so he's fantastic, really disturbing. This is a production by Robert Carsen shot in Zurich, smart and beautiful as most of his, although not among his very best. Do not expect a traditional one, of course, and, if you are a fan of old-fashioned cardboard productions, you will probably think that "not even Robert Carsen can spoiil this Tosca". For me, his production is smart, an unexpected perspective on the stage,, beautiful in its simplicity, and has some surprising,, very intelligent little twists that really add to the story.
Far better than ROH. Terfel a nightmare as I predicted. Georghiou past her best. Terfel makes faces like a demented rabbit and rolls his eyes using his hairdo as in Flying Dutchman. Terfel not watchable. Thomas Hanpson more believable but not enough heft. Better Scarpias, apart from Gobbi, are Raimondi and London.
I love Tosca, but I really wanted to listen to Emily Magee, and was not disappointed. Probably a few issues about interpretation, and the production was dark on the TV. Exceptional cast, super price, and enjoy the singing.
Despite the title this production's real name should be "Mario Cavaradossi" and not "Tosca". Actually it was focused more on Jonas Kaufmann playing Cavaradossi rather than on Tosca played by Emily Magee. Or is it that the great personality of the german tenor outshone the soprano? The bariton Thomas Hampson has the right sleaziness in portraing the evil Scarpia, but maybe lacks a bit of "volume" compared to the dark and masculin voice of his rival Cavaradossi. The direction concept is not that imaginative with its moving forward to the 50's, but the costumes are quite appropriate. Paolo Carignani conducts smoothly , but a little bit more of "elan" would have improved the final result.
Tosca has to be my favourite Opera of all so I am always keen to see any new production. For me it epitomises high drama with music. Of course the high drama and music were there but I think, even aside from the update to the 1950's, the production by Robert Carsen took far too many liberties. Several things just dont ring true. The constant reference to Napoleon are ,for me, important to the pacing of the story. Almost a century and a half later would intelligence forces be so poorly informed about political shifts? Would cannons be fired from battlements? Would prisoners still be housed in an ageing castle and still shot at dawn by a firing squad. To make this all plausible you would have to re write the complete story which could be possible. Think about what Bernstein did with West Side Story. Returning to the Opera on the whole. The tremendously powerful finale to Act 1 lost all its religous pomp and ceremony and was reduced to some kind of press conference that just didnt work. The whole concept of Tosca the diva was centred around the famous divas who portrayed the character in such brilliance throughout the 50's and 60's so you get the idea that Tosca is only acting and none of it actually takes place. I am still mystified what was supposed to happen at the end? The music stands alone in showing us Toscas suicide. There was a novelty element that the designer wanted to make a statement and tribute to Callas but at the opera goers expense. Within these bounds the acting and singing were superb. For once both the male characters were portrayed as vibrant and virile characters with the bad guy possibly being more attractive than the good guy - Hampson was superb as Scarpia and actually very believable as a maffia boss. Kaufmann as Cavaradossi was a little to wide eyed and far to easily dominated by Scarpia not showing enough determined fight. I particularly enjoyed the lead up to the assasination of Scarpia with the removal of the gown and Tosca waiting in her under garments but would she really have lay on the floor and not on something more provocative. I was also confused about the paintings in the first and second acts.How did Cavaradossi manage to repiant and finish it? I suppose we have to accept that to hardened opera goers productions must come up with something new and interesting. Sadly this one lost the plot!!!
This is a Tosca worth having Jonas Kaufmann is excellent as Cavaradossi and Emily Magee in a brilliant portrayal as the jealous Floria Tosca. A more modern production, but it does not distract from the storyline. The highlight however is Thomas Hampson as Scarpia. Brooding, evil and downright frightning!!Great singing, great acting.