Archive for February, 2012

Tosca, Dusted of

February 12, 2012

Julie Makerov as Tosca in the Canadian Opera Company production 2012

For Julie Makerov as Tosca, the revival of the 2008 COC’s production, was a chance to relax in cool confidence, which made one want to cheer for her. Her Tosca is a simple, vulnerable woman in love and Ms. Makerov is  convincing yet delicate in expressing the spectrum of Tosca’s emotions, her fatal jealousy, her torment, and her agony.   The audience loved her too.

Carlo Ventre as Cavaradossi and Adrianne Pieczonka as Tosca

We welcome and congratulate the Uruguayan tenorspinto Carlo Ventre of Montevideo, a Pavarotti International Voice Competition Winner, a young and  handsome  man  with a hint of Clark Gable in his smile. Mr.   Ventre is a singer in demand today in the opera world. When Mr.  Ventre, sings one feels that he cares not if the human voice is expendable. He surrenders without hesitation.  Thank you COC for making Toronto shine again in today’s opera G-7 world.

The praise must go to our Canadian Peter Strummer as Sacristan and the humorous touches which nicely tied together Act 1.

The opera Tosca is based on the play by a French playwright Victorien Sardou. Puccini saw the play in Paris with the famous Sarah Bernhardt as Tosca and decided to make an opera. Over a period of 14 years, approximately every third year Puccini wrote a masterpiece opera, on the same theme a tragic love affair: Manon Lescaut (1893), La Boheme (1896), Tosca (1900) and Madama Butterfly (1904). In Tosca, Puccini combines the flavours of the Slavic orchestral sound l Stravinsky and the broad vocal gliding of Italian-style tenor singing with room for a sob at the end of the aria. The COC’s Tosca of four years ago is revived this season, and I watched the performance on February 5, 2012. It came across as a somewhat dusty photo album of past times of the opera productions with shooting and singing. The orchestral parts sound more suitable for PIXAR animation. The scenes of the Catholic procession demonstrate a carnival rather than a solemn spirit. Scenes with citizenry strolling in and out of the church did not come through with any particular flavour other than that of wallpaper.

The lives of two artists, Floria Tosca a popular singer, and Cavaradossi her lover and painter, become doomed to a horrible tragedy when the wheels of world politics start grinding across their simple lives. Providing a hideout to a political refugee, Cavaradossi exposes himself to a merciless pursuit by Scarpia. Then Cavaradossi is tortured, but it is Floria Tosca who cannot endure the screams of the torture from which Cavaradossi suffers. So Tosca gives away the hiding republican. She desperately tries to strike a deal with Baron Scarpia, who is in charge of the pursuit. Scarpia wants it all— Angelotti dead, Cavaradossi tortured, and Tosca in his embrace. The desperate Tosca kills Scarpia, but she cannot save  her lover. They both die.