Tosca has so many Italian stereotypes that if an Italian hadn’t written it, it would be offensive. You’ve got your passionate revolutionary artist type tenor, your jealous diva – the character is supposed to be a famous singer — who wields a lethal letter opener, a duplicitous baron who could be one of Tony Soprano’s meaner ancestors, plus Madonna-worship (the religious icon, not the pop-singer), politics, and betrayal.
This is the kind of opera we love – passionate, Italian, and more verismo than a ripped from the headlines episode of any incarnation of Law and Order.
The current production at the Met opened in September with Patricia Racette in the title role, opposite Roberto Alagna as Mario Cavaradossi. The reviews in the usual places are of those performers. We saw it last night with Sondra Radvanovsky and Marcello Giordani in the roles.
Radvanovsky who neither of us heard before, was a revelation. If I could only use one word to describe her voice, it would be supple. She sings with amazing ease. No shrieking, no breathiness, no strain of any kind. She sings the way Fred Astaire dances – that is, she makes it look deceptively easy. She begins her big aria – Vissi d’Arte, supine on a sofa – an act which seems to defy the laws of both gravity and acoustics – and she pulls it off flawlessly. Showboating? Maybe. But we ate it up like cheesecake.
The always reliable Met fav, Marcello Giordani was in especially good form, winning us over with the powerful Act I, aria Recondita armoni. The duet between Mario and Tosca later in the act, showcased the chemistry between Continue reading Idiots at the Opera — Tosca, It’s Italian