Review: Puccini’s La Tosca at the Bristol Hippodrome, performed by the Welsh National Opera

Posted on Apr 12 2018 - 5:54pm by Claire Herbaux
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Simply fantastic.

La Tosca is everything you expect from opera and more.

Set in Rome at Napoleon times and first performed in Rome in 1990, it is still every bit as gripping and emotional in this production on the Welsh National Opera.

The story of Puccini’s La Tosca is still thrilling and dramatic in modern times. Unlike some others operas, which you listen to for its music, but where storylines are outdated, this will still have you on the edge of your seat and the musicians as well as the cast deserved every bit of applause they received last night.

Mario Cavaradossi (Gwyn Hughes Jones) helps an escaped political prisoner from Castel Sant’Angelo (yes, the one you can still visit in Rome), hide from the police chief Scarpia (Mark S Doss). Mario’s love, the very jealous Floria Tosca (Claire Rutter), is interrogated by Scarpia while Mario is being tortured and eventually reveals Angelotti’s (Daniel Grice) hiding place.

Scarpia sentences Cavaradossi to be shot at dawn but agrees to a mock execution in exchange for Tosca’s love.

From then on, the tension only builds and the second interval comes just in time before the grand finale. The pressure is almost unbearable and you need a moment to breathe before the final twist in the story.

You are so engrossed in the music, under the direction of Timothy Burke, that you hardly have time to notice the curtain go down.

The opera is all about human relationships (and at times very much linked to our time) and while Tosca may come across as a simple jealous, overdressed lover of Cavaradossi, she develops into a strong character and her singing reflects both how bold she is at times, and the heartbreak she has to suffer.

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