Scottish Opera: Tosca
- Carol Main
- 29 October 2019
Powerful revival of Anthony Besch's production of the Puccini tragedy
It may have been first unveiled almost 40 years ago, but Anthony Besch's Scottish Opera production of Tosca is possibly even more powerful today than it has been over the course of its now nine revivals. Perpetually heady themes of jealousy, deceit, power, corruption, betrayal and, of course, love are laid bare and given authoritative credence, in a performance that draws the audience up close and personal to Puccini's edge-of-the seat tragic thriller.
With a strong cast of soloists who, both vocally and dramatically, are complementary to each other across the board, the orchestra is alongside them every step of the way, bringing a depth of colour, passion and intensity which tells as much, or perhaps even more, from the pit as what is going on up above them on stage. Whether thundering timpani, almost tangible evil from menacing brass or heart-achingly tender melodies from the strings, this is a familiar score from which conductor Stuart Stratford coaxes every instrumental nuance.
The unforgettable opening set, with the dark grandeur of the church of Sant'Andrea della Valle in Rome, introduces the catalyst for all that ensues: the escaped political prisoner Angelotti. British bass-baritone Dingle Yandell may have a big voice, but he brought a sensitive vulnerability that fits the role. Likewise, Paul Carey Jones' Sacristan had real energy and warmth of humanity. Natalya Romaniw as Tosca seized the part head-on, and developed her character with gripping effect, from flighty operatic diva to a devoted lover prepared to murder to save her other half, the painter Cavaradossi, played by gloriously-voiced tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones. Never far away until he receives Tosca's special kiss – aka a knife thrust into his core – Roland Wood is a suitably villainous Scarpia.
Reviewed at Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Sat 26 Oct. Eden Court, Inverness, Tue 5–Sat 9 Nov; Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 14–Sat 23 Nov.