Riccardo Massi


Placido Domingo’s Tosca – Royal Opera House

Placido Domingo's Tosca (Royal Opera House) on Express - 17.01.2014

When I last saw Jonathan Kent's production of Puccini's Tosca at the Royal Opera House a few weeks ago, I thought it was quite wonderful, but the latest change of cast makes it even better.

The plot is simple but intensely dramatic: The opera singer Tosca loves the painter Cavaradossi, but is lusted after by the powerful and evil police chief Scarpia. When Cavadossi helps to his an escaped political prisoner, Scarpia sees his chance: he'll torture and threaten to execute Cavaradossi, offering to free him if Tosca lets him have his evil way with her.

This being an opera, they all end up dead, but only after some stunningly good music. 

My five-point plan for a great Tosca is as follows:

1. World class singers in all three roles.

2. Imposing sets to match the grandeur of the music.

3. A snarling Scarpia whose voice exudes real menace.

4. Intelligent direction that gives the principals convincing things to do while Puccini's music carries the emotional storyline forwards.

5. A beautiful leap to her death off the battlements by Tosca to bring the opera to a close.

This production came close to perfection on all five... 

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