Tuesday, 28 March 2006

Tosca

On Saturday we went to see English Touring Opera's new production of Tosca at the Cambridge Arts Theatre. My review is here on MusicWeb.


Tosca is one of those operas that can be difficult to get the tone of the production right, especially on a small scale. Its Grand Guignol gestures can easily degenerate into ham; I remember my mother going to see a very small scale production (with piano I think) in our home town of Grimsby. I'd warned her in advance that it might not be convincing. She reported back that she'd enjoyed the singing but that the staging was a little over-done; Cavaradossi appearing in Act 2 covered in obviously fake stage blood, etc.


But even in larger houses, where the bigger scale of the theatre suits large scale gestures an effects there are pit-falls, notably at the ending. English National Opera revived Jonathan Miller's fascist era production with Jane Eaglen in the title role. At the end Eaglen was called upon to run up a long, long ramp before throwing herself out of a window. A woman of Eaglen's size looks ungainly running and it completely destroyed the moment. Here, and in one or two other smaller places, I'd wished the staff producers had had the confidence to re-work the production to suit Eaglen's physique more.

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