Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tosca in HD This Weekend

This weekend Tosca will  be screened Live in HD for the second time. The production by Luc Bondy is one of the most controversial productions at the Met as it premiered to a number of boos in 2009 at the Opening Night of the season. The Met has presented the production four straight seasons and has failed to sell out the house.  

Roberto Alagna and Patricia Racette in Puccini's "Tosca" at the Metropolitan Opera.   Photo: Marty Sohl

This season Patricia Racette will bring her acclaimed portrait of the diva. However Racette's voice has declined in the past years since she first sang it in 2010. The voice struggles to get to the top of the range and she sounds uncomfortable. Roberto Alagna sings Cavaradossi and critics have praised him for his ardor. However Alagna struggles with most of the role except his arias and has a hollow sound. As Scarpia George Gagnidze brings his chaotic voice to the role which he sang at the premiere of the production. His Scarpia is one dimensional and he has failed to add any layers to the role.  
With all these elements it seems this HD will be one of the biggest disappointments of the season. Additionally it seems like it will be a waste of time considering such operas as Di Frau Ohne Schatten, Arabella, Die Fledermaus, and Norma were ignored. 

As Opera fans which HD would you guys have liked to see instead of Tosca? Who is Going to see this Work?


  1. Definitely would have preferred an HD of the spectacular Frau over this tepid revival of Tosca. The singers try hard, but the Bondy production is dull. Racette is a wonderful actress but her top was wobbly and occassionally flat. Alagna warmed up in act 3, fine singing and acting. Gagnidze is variable vocally and one-dimendional as an actor. While I don't pine for thethe late lamented Zefferelli production, I will be happy to see this one go.

  2. PS: Above as viewed in HD. In his backstage interview, Alagna reveals an upcoming role debut in Othello (!!)...uh, HOW? He's in pretty decent voice overall , but I also noticed the hollowness you mention, especially in act 1 and there is definite wear on the instrument. I guess the time is now, if ever. But maybe better...never.

  3. I saw Tosca both in HD and in the house. I couldn't agree more that this was a bad choice for an HD broadcast, especially with such an amazing production of Die Frau! (Not to mention the fact that it's seen so much more infrequently than Tosca.) I thought Gagnidze stole the show in the HD version, though in the house he struggled to be heard from time to time. Alagna, on the other hand sounded STUNNING live, but was a less thrilling in the broadcast. Racette was a big ole mess in both, though she fared a bit better in the house, probably because one didn't have to see up close how uncomfortable and unsuited she is for this role, particularly with her voice struggling the way it has been recently. The Met has no business casting someone so bland as Tosca. I'm curious to see Radvanovsky next month. I have no doubt she'll sound much better (and more in tune) than Racette, but I think it's unlikely that her portrayal of the character will be any better than Racette's dismal attempt.