‘Tosca’ at the Opera House is terrific and tragic

‘Tosca’ at the Opera House is terrific and tragic
Image: Source: Opera Australia

Directed by the Brit, Edward Dick, this staging of Giacomo Puccini’s much-beloved opera Tosca is from the UK company Opera North.

First staged in 1900, the opera features one of the most famous arias of all – the heart-stopping “Vissi d’arte” – which is sung by the soprano lead in defence of her life lived for art and as a kind human being.

It is easy to understand why the immortal Greek singer Maria Callas began and ended her public career on the stage in her role as Tosca.

In this production, the magnificent Giselle Allen (Irish) sings the role as she is sprawled in the bedroom of predatory Chief of Police, Scarpia, the Harvey Weinstein of the day. Gevorg Hakobyan (Armenian) realises the evil intent of this nasty character, who likes his victims to beg for mercy.

Tosca has made a deal with Scarpia in order to save the life of her lover, the painter Cavaradossi, sung by Young Woo Kim (South Korean), whose rich tenor fach was a thrill to listen to, especially in the moving aria “E lucevan le stelle” which he sings as he faces execution.

Tosca doesn’t keep her side of the bargain with Scarpia, and with the audience fully on side, she stabs him to death!

What follows is for you to find out if you have not seen the opera, but be prepared and bring some tissues with you. You will need them at the end of this tragic opera in which Puccini plumbs the depths and heights of emotion in his score.

The orchestra sings under the baton of Johannes Fritzsch, while director Edward Dick succeeded in drawing parallels between Scarpia and today’s sexual predators.

The set design by Tom Scutt was simple, employing a large round background reminiscent of the ceiling of a church, while the atmospheric lighting was designed by Lee Curran and realised by Jason Morphett.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see a terrific visiting production staging a magnificent work by the composer who succeeded Verdi as the greatest operatic composer in Europe.

Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca
 Sydney Opera House, now until August 16
https://opera.org.au/productions/tosca-sydney

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