As lots of you know my first visit to watch an opera was for my 18th birthday at The Lowry Theatre in Salford near Greater Manchester. Well my parents have topped that this year; they bought me tickets to watch ‘Tosca’ at ‘The Opera Bastille’ in Paris on a two night break for my 21st birthday.
The main auditorium has 2,745 seats and my Dad said it was nearly sold out when he booked a couple of weeks ago.
I reviewed the story by Giacomo Puccini, because I guess the Italian opera will have French surtitles. Tosca is a story of political instability and menace, there are three principal roles.
The sadistic Chief of Police of Rome – Scarpia (sung by a baritone) – is one of the wickedest villains in opera. The story is set in June 1800 in Rome, with the Kingdom of Naples control of Rome threatened by Naploean’s invasion of Italy. Scarpia ruthlessly searches for and tortures enemies of the state. I’m hoping for some vocal firepower here.
Mario Cavaradossi (a tenor role) agrees to help a convict escape and sets in motion a series of unfortunate events that will lead to disaster for him and his lover Floria Tosca (Tosca is a soprano role) I’m looking to see how she conveys the melodrama, passion and impulsiveness that is usually associated with this role.
Tosca and Cavardossi have very passionate lyrical arias, the most famous aria is ‘Vissi d’arte’ Tosca is also one of the most frequently performed operas.
The play has three acts – melodrama en trios actes. This is the write up from the Opera Bastille:
“A singer in love, passionate, jealous and impulsive; a romantic painter, an idealist and a defender of liberty; a police chief with a lust for flesh, power and blood, ready to do anything to achieve his ends. Puccini artfully combines the ingredients of a melodrama written for Sarah Bernhardt and comes up with what might be called the opera of operas, a spectacle at once primitive and decadent. In a mythical yet real Rome, from the shadows of the church of Sant’ Andrea della Valle to the terrace of Castello Sant’ Angelo, passions collide and tear all apart, mingling the erotic with the sacred, love with possession, theatre with life. Nothing is what it seems in Tosca: beautiful women who come to pray are conspirators, defeats are victories and mock executions are real. A spectacular work which captures the essence of opera as few others do. Pierre Audi signs a new production of this violent and passionate work for the Paris Opera.”
I can’t wait to hear this production and see the sets and costume.
Evelino Pidò ( Conductor ), Pierre Audi ( Stage Director ), Christof Hetzer ( Sets ), Robby Duiveman ( Costumes ), Jean Kalman ( Lighting ), Klaus Bertisch ( Dramaturgy ) and José Luis Basso ( Chorus Master ).
I have had a whirlwind of a week which has been a wonderful experience and tonight I know will be a great finale for me. Thank you all for your fabulous comments and well wishes. I hope that you understand why I have not had time to answer everyone, but once I get home I will catch up with you all 🙂