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Subject: Tosca here and there
From: gordon young <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:gordon young <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 31 Jan 2018 20:37:21 -0600
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Over the last 2 weeks I have seen two Toscas the one from the Met and
another on the FABULOUS site Operavision that I recommend highly. I enjoyed
the Met performance, less so the one on Operavision. I didn’t write down
any of the specifics on where or who was in the European production and it
has already been removed from the site. Now I am watching another European
production of Turandot. Both the Tosca and Turandot would be called
Regietheater. I love being able to experience these so that I know what is
happening in the opera world.

The Met Tosca production was beautiful, for me, especially the second act
with the great atmospheric lighting. Everything was there to make the story
understandable. Not true of the European production which left out all of
the detail need to tell the story. The sets looked cheap and silly. Instead
of a church in this production there is really no definition of location.
BUT numerous extras begin stretching tape across the performing space. At
the end of the act I understood they had created a web … get it A WEB. The
Sacristan was a, I think, street person. The story was updated to sometime
in the late 20th century.  Most of the time updating requires the viewer to
ignore language and historical knowledge. When Scarpia is told that
Napoleon has been defeat the reference to Napoleon is ridiculous so, my
suggestion would be to change the name and historic reference. Poor Scarpia
had no little dinner, table, no Spanish wine and no knife that forced Tosca
to kill him with his eyeglasses (now isn’t that inventive). Oh, by the way,
the director borrowed from the Bondy Tosca having Scarpia hitting on a
whore. How was the singing? I don’t know I was so wrapped up in the staging
that I couldn’t hear a note … not really. Oh another thing Tosca is dressed
in jeans and an extra large sweater until in the middle of the second act
she changes into some sort of formal gown … an ugly formal gown. Apparently
she sang the cantata in the jeans and then changed.  What disturbs me about
these productions is that they are illogical.

The Turandot I am watching now again makes no attempt to really tale the
story but at least the production is somewhat beautiful. It seems to me
that watching these productions helps one understand the variety of
possibilities in opera production.

Really let me encourage you to look at the Operavision site. They also have
new operas that sound interesting.

Gordon

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