The Metropolitan Opera HD broadcast presents ‘Tosca’ in Breckenridge
Special to the Daily
The Metropolitan Opera HD 2017-18 broadcast season returns to Colorado Mountain Collage on Jan. 27 at 11 a.m., with the production of Puccini’s classic opera “Tosca,” based on a play by Victorien Sardou, set in Rome around the historical events in the early 1800s during the reign of Napoleon.
Act I takes place in a side chapel off the nave of the basilica of Sant’Andrea della Valle, a glorious 17th-century church. First introduced in Act I is the painter Mario Cavaradossi (performed by Tenor Vittorio Grigola) a liberal who helps the escaped political prisoner Cesare Angelotti (performed by Bass Christian Zeremba), hiding him from the police. Cavaradossi’s devoted but jealous lover, Floria Tosca (performed by Bulgarian Soprano Sonya Yoncheva), expresses concern over his true love in return.
Baron Scarpia (performed by Bass Željko Luči), the sadistic chief of police, arrives on the scene. In his hunt for Angelotti, he expresses the love of Tosca for himself and arouses her jealousy with remarks about Cavaradossi. As there is intoned a Te Deum, celebrating Napoleon’s recent defeat in battle against the Allied forces, Scarpia declares that he will bend Tosca’s love to himself.
Act II moves to Scarpia’s residence in the Palazzo Farnese, a 16th-century Renaissance palace near the Campo de’ Fiori, now the French Embassy. Unable to find Angelotti, Scarpia has arrested Cavaradossi, whom he suspects of aiding the fugitive. While Scarpia has the painter tortured, the frightened Tosca reveals Angelotti’s hiding place. After Cavaradossi is carried off to be executed, Scarpia offers Tosca Cavaradossi’s freedom, in exchange for her love. She agrees. He then writes a safe-conduct pass for her. In return, when in Scarpia’s arms, she grabs a knife and kills him.
Act III takes place in the Castel Sant’Angelo, where Cavaradossi is imprisoned. Tosca discloses his mock execution, indicating that Scarpia had ordered that blank bullets be placed in the guns of the firing squad. Cavaradossi must fall as if dead. After the firing squad shoots, Cavaradossi falls. Tosca soon realizes that the shots were real and that he indeed is dead. When crying out, Tosca cries out that she will meet Cavaraossi before God, before leaping to her death from atop the side of the battlement.
Sir David McVicar, an inspired Scottish director, fashioned a brilliant new production that, along with John Macfarlane’s wonderfully detailed sets, makes the opera again come to life. Emmanuel Villaume conducts the Met Orchestra.
In a recent Huffington Post review, this rendition of “Tosca” was reviewed as “a smashing new production — a grand triumph — a rousing success.” The New York Times review called this a “compelling performance — Yoncheva and Grigolo looked wonderfully youthful as Puccini’s lovers. Her voice is richly textured and shimmering. Grigolo’s Mario sings as a true hothead, with virile excitement, complete with thrilling top notes.”
From these reviews, attending the current production of “Tosca” promises to be a rewarding experience. Each opera buff can personally evaluate the stage sets of this new production, the performance of arias and duets in expressing the deep inner emotions of each of the characters, and the vibrant notes and passages of the orchestra in support of Puccini’s composition. Those attending are requested to bring their own lunch. Coffee, tea and fruit juices will be provided.
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