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Subject: Tosca II is first-rate
From: janosG <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:janosG <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 16 Nov 2012 23:36:18 -0800
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There was none of the sturm und drang of yesterday (http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/music/2012/11/star-born-tosca-intermission) at tonight's "Tosca" with Cast II in the War Memorial, only a crackerjack of a performance, much more of a unified piece than during last night's distractions, further impacted by mediocre singing from the two male principals.

First among equals were Nicola Luisotti and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, playing with intensity and consistence not quite there on the previous evening. Without overwhelming the singers, the former chorus master kept up a gorgeously shaped orchestral thunder. Ah, the Te Deum!

Of the three Merola/Adler alumni stars in the cast, Patricia Racette in the title role delivered all the goods expected of her (which is a lot to say) and Mark Delavan sang a much improved Scarpia against his counterpart in the other cast. The novelty standout was Brian Jagde as Cavaradossi.

Tall, handsome, a good - if not yet great - actor, Jagde has a remarkable tenor, reminiscent (just a bit) of Brandon Jovanovich a few years ago. (Jovanovich, who went from Pinkerton here to Siegmund and Lohengrin, is in LA, singing... Pinkerton!)

Jagde's voice is youthful and appealing, he hits high notes effortlessly, even if the sound narrows somewhat. It's a lyrical, pretty voice, with plenty of power, and may yet take the young tenor to high places and accolades aplenty.

As Jovanovich is going from Wagner to Puccini (again), so is Delavan, a notable Dutchman and outstanding Wotan, singing Scarpia, which - OK - is a fairly "heavy" role in Puccinistan. Although the performance vocally/dramatically was good tonight, something was missing from Delavan's voice most of the time. He has never been a singer of overwhelming power, but at his best, Delavan has a magnificently broad, embracing voice (think back to his Wotan) - and that was not all there tonight.

Still, orchestra and soloists together provided a first-class "Tosca" experience. And now, 10 more... http://sfopera.com/Season-Tickets/2012-2013-Season/Tosca.aspx

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