Opera Scotland

Tosca 2002Chisinau National Opera, Moldova

Read more about the opera Tosca

Perhaps not as popular as Butterfly, Puccini's Napoleonic period melodrama, once described by Mosco Carner as a 'shabby little shocker', remains a sure-fire audience pleaser in any half-competent performance. This was considerably better than that, and provided a thoroughly enjoyable evening. For audiences in Scotland since 1980, Tosca, never performed at the Edinburgh Festival, has been identified with the superb Anthony Besch staging, designed by Peter Rice for Scottish Opera. This was cleverly updated to the Fascist era of Mussolini.

The Moldovan production took the refreshing step of presenting the work in the period originally intended - the Napoleonic era a century before the time of composition. This worked well, of course, with the heroine and villain both handsomely attired. The sets were simple but perfectly adequate, though it was clear that Tosca jumped from no great height at the end.

In Dundee's vast Caird Hall, the musicians were treated to the use of the recently-restored organ in the Te Deum. As the machine warmed up the chorus looked mildly concerned - for people who perhaps saw one advantage of touring Britain being safety from the risk of earthquakes, to have the floor vibrating beneath their feet was mildly disconcerting. But the overall effect was infinitely better than the usual electronic imitation - and the smiles that quickly wreathed the performers' faces indicated their agreement.

The title role was sung by a young Japanese soprano with an excellent voice and technique, good acting ability, and appropriately elegant appearance. Petru Racovita was a tall, elegant Scarpia, perhaps more a smoothie than the snarling villain so often seen. Cavaradossi was taken by the company's director, now nearing the end of his singing career. After more than a half century since Glyndebourne brought him to the Edinburgh Festival, Petre Munteanu's state of vocal preservation was astonishing. His acting may have been stately and no longer youthful, but he was ideally suited to Canio a couple of years later.

Further performances and alternate castings to be confirmed.

Performance Cast

Cesare Angelotti former Consul, now a political prisoner

Viorel Zgardan

Sacristan

Valeriu Cojocaru

Mario Cavaradossi a painter

Petre Munteanu

Floria Tosca a famous singer

Manami Hama

Baron Scarpia Chief of Police

Petru Racovita

Spoletta police agent

Vladimir Zaklikovsky

Gaoler

Vitale Cires

Performance DatesTosca 2002

Map List

Caird Hall | Dundee

20 Jan, 19.30

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