There are certain opera houses around the world that are a mecca for music fans. The Metropolitan Opera has been an institution in New York City for 128 years, with a great stage that has been home to many legendary singers.
It felt like fate when I found out Puccini’s Tosca would be on at the Met whilst I was in New York. I performed professionally in the opera as a teenager and wrote an extended dissertation on the topic, it is a magnificent work that has won my heart many times over.
Despite the early performance of noon on a Saturday, the auditorium was full and raring to go. Everyone was thrilled to see the stage transformed into the Italian chapel in which the famous story begins.
The music, of course, is totally sublime and sweeps you up with its great soaring motifs and dramatic melodies. Riccardo Frizza does a fine job in the pit leading the strong and passionate Met Orchestra through the stupendous score. Singers Patricia Racette and Roberto Alagna are tremendous as the leading couple, in particular Alagna’s emotional and rich tenor tone suits the kind and loyal role of Cavaradossi. George Gagnidze as Scarpia is chillingly menacing, commanding the stage and gripping the audience with a charismatic malice. Director Paula Williams has chosen to really emphasise the evil and repulsive character adding brilliantly foul nuances to the role.
I loved the grandiose and bold staging of this classic work and, even though I know this opera better than any other, this production made a big impact on me – it displays a new insight into the tragic narrative.
It was a real highlight of my New York trip and I am immensely pleased that I was able to squeeze it into my busy schedule.
Continues until 28 December 2013, book here.