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Subject: Re: Karita Mattila (was Re: La Scala)
From: David H Spence <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:David H Spence <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 22 May 2017 14:13:54 -0400
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I too watched the Met telecast of Tosca a little over a week before
Christmas on PBS and found it god-awful.  After the next thing I watched,
representing Mattila and in essence the same production, I came to realize
that neither Mattila nor the production had to have left such a lousy
impression.  Some tinkering with it occurred, involving especially the
prostitutes with Scarpia at the beginning of Act Two.  The Met thought that
any way in which they could help the Luc Bondy production, following a
Zeffirelli of this, sell better - go for it! - and they did, regardless how
incoherent the results might be.  

The whole effort was further compromised by the limp, flaccid conducting of
Joseph Colaneri, Marcelo Alvarez using Pavarotti as a model for likewise a
non-interpretation of Cavaradossi. Could not more rehearsal time been
devoted to bringing some of this around to fit better with what concept
Bondy had in mind?  The weak Scarpia of George Gagnidze, both vocally and
dramatically so, further undermined the whole thing.

Once you watch the air-check of Mattila doing this with Jonas Kaufmann and
Juha Uusitalo in Munich with Fabio Luisi on the podium, everything comes
much more, much better into focus, as to what goes on with this off-center
for sure but interesting production of Tosca. Peter Gelb seldom showed any
better than patronizing respect for Luisi. This is one major reason the Met
does not get to use Luisi much anymore.  Look at what happened with Verdi's
Masked Ball - as seen in cinemas in December 2012.  There is better work
elsewhere and Luisi has found it.  This may still be obtainable from
Berkshire Record Outlet for nine bucks.  The transfer to dvd is clear, works
just fine.  

Kaufmann is preferable to see on this than in either the Bob Carsen
production from Zurich, which makes still a little less sense, and the dull
performance of this from Convent Garden, in which the only distinctive
singing and acting comes from the Cavaradossi and the Spoletta.  Luisi is
clearly preferable to both Carignani and Pappano conducting this music. 
Mattila both sings and acts better, even alongside a second-tier Scarpia
(Uusitalo, but still very preferable to Gagnidze), in Munich than at the
Met, as we can know from their commercially issued dvd of when they did it.


David H Spence

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