5 May 2009 | TheLittleSongbird
The most tragic of the Puccini operas is brought to TV in a visually-stunning and well-performed production!
I am 17, and I absolutely love opera. Tosca, with exception from la Boheme is probably the most tragic and most powerful of the Puccini operas, with its heart-rending music and fully fleshed characters that are appropriately dark. This production looks so beautiful, probably one of the more visually-stunning versions of the opera. There are many highlights, like the torture/interrogation scene, "Vissi D'Arte", Scarpia's death, "E Lucevan e Le Stelle" and especially the "te deum". There is also one bit where Scarpia walks Tosca out of the church, which was such a beautifully done touch, it brought tears to my eyes actually, and matched perfectly with the music. The opera is in three acts, the darkest being act 2, the most dramatic act 3 and the most lyrical being act 1. The orchestral playing is both powerful and sensitive, the cello ensemble in Act 3 is just divine, while Bruno Bartoletti's conducting is pitch-perfect. The singing is outstanding. Raina Kabaivanska is exceptional as Tosca, exactly what Tosca should be, dark, vulnerable and passionate, and Kabaivanska was perfect with gorgeous pianissimo singing and the most beautiful eye contact of any Tosca. Placido Domingo, who originally started off as a baritone, matches her beautifully in a suitably poignant Caveradossi, that is just as good as DiStefano's. I do still think Tito Gobbi is the best Scarpia, but in a magnificent, towering, though different performance, in one of the most dramatic and most difficult operatic roles in history, Sherill Milnes dominates the screen, who not enough people appreciate as one of the finest living baritones. All in all, a beautiful and brooding video version of a resolutely dark opera. 10/10 Bethany Cox