Tragic Tosca Makes Ravishing Return To Royal Opera House

Tosca, Royal Opera House ★★★★☆

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Tragic Tosca Makes Ravishing Return To Royal Opera House Tosca, Royal Opera House 4
Gerald Finley as Baron Scarpia (C) ROH. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

If you’ve thought about dipping your toe in to operatic waters, the ninth revival of Jonathan Kent’s classic production of Tosca is an ideal choice. Escape, jealousy, torture, murder and tragic love play out on Paul Brown’s sumptuous, evocative set (the first performance was dedicated to his memory), and is brought to life by Puccini’s thrilling, exquisite music.

Adrianne Pieczonka as Floria Tosca (C) ROH. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

Leading the first of three casts, Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja is utterly sublime as romantic hero Cavaradossi, with a voice that soars with clarity, colour and truth. Adrianne Pieczonka sings the title role beautifully and thoughtfully, and Gerald Finley is a suitably villainous Scarpia. All of the supporting cast are excellent in their roles, particularly Simon Shibambu and Jeremy White as Angelotti and the Sacristan respectively.

On the first night of the revival, the leads seem a little self-conscious and deliberate in their movements, delivering more traditional ‘park and bark’ interactions rather than natural, convincing relationships. Dan Ettinger conducts at a somewhat leisurely pace, which is lavish and poetic in romantic scenes, but takes some of the bite and urgency out of violent, climactic moments.

Adrianne Pieczonka as Floria Tosca, Gerald Finley as Baron Scarpia (C) ROH. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

Adored by audiences the world over, Tosca has been performed at The Royal Opera House nearly 500 times. Make this revival your first time, or a highly enjoyable return.

Tosca, Royal Opera House, Bow Street, WC2E 9DD, £43-195, until 3 March 2018.

Last Updated 19 January 2018