From the sublime — the Mozart Requiem — to the ridiculous, namely stage director Christophe HonorÈ’s Tosca. A ridiculous waste of operatic resources.
?The 1917 Met Tosca production hung around for 50 years, bested by the 1925 San Francisco Opera production that lived to the ripe old age of 92.† The current Met production is just 2 years old but has the feel of something that can live forever.
The story was bigger than its actors, the Tosca ritual was ignored. It wasn’t a Tosca for the ages though maybe it was (San Francisco’s previous Tosca production hung around for 95 years). P.S. It was an evening of powerful theater, and incidentally it was really good opera.
Rarely, very rarely does a Tosca come around that you can get excited about. Sure, sometimes there is good singing, less often good conducting but rarely is there a mise en scËne that goes beyond stock opera vocabulary.
Yet another Tosca is hardly exciting news, if news at all. The current five performances have come just two years after SFO alternated divas Angela Gheorghiu and Patricia Racette in the title role.
Extraordinary diva, Angela Gheorghiu pulled out of opening night after act one. It was news when she made it to the end of the second performance. Here is what happened at the third performance.
Who is Patricia Racette? Sexually ripe Nedda, maternal Cio-Cio-San, neurotic Sister Angelica? But now the jealous Tosca? And without question Mme. Racette has again proven herself the Puccini heroine par excellence of this moment.
Operatic train wreck in San Francisco, hopes crushed for 3000 opera-goers, impresario’s grand scheme derailed.
Divas make headlines, but character singers are fundamental to the British opera tradition. “Character singing,” says Jeremy White, one of the stalwarts of the Royal Opera House, “is much more than just voice.”
The current Tosca at the Royal Opera House is something of a classic, revived four times in five years. It’s now being filmed for cinema to be released in November 2011.