Tosca - Royal Opera House, 6 March 2013
Maurizio Benini clearly knows his way round the score, but spoilt Covent Garden regulars will miss the detail, the variety and the sheer passion that Pappano brings to Tosca. What looked on paper like a routine revival of a warhorse production was instead elevated to the extraordinary by the powerful performances of its central cast.
Few sparks flew between Echalaz and Massimo Giordano's Cavaradossi, but there was chemistry to spare with Michael Volle's sadistic Scarpia. The second act's cat-and-mouse manipulations were grippingly calibrated. Giordano's ardent, unforced tenor convinced in places where his acting didn't, but he often gave the impression of someone who'd wandered in without rehearsal (and this was the third show of the run).
Unlike Richard Eyre's thoughtful La traviata, Jonathan Kent's Tosca yields nothing more on repeated visits. If anything, its faults become more apparent. Constricted sets and poor sightlines are far more of a problem here than in recent ROH productions criticised on those grounds - perhaps audiences are too numbed by the comforting predictability to notice?
production photos (above) Tristram Kenton/Royal Opera House
curtain call photos (below) www.intermezzo.typepad.com
And here is a curtain call video from Kyoko - the 2 March performance, but the same cast: