Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa & Luigi Illica
Conductor: Dmitri Jurowski
Stage director: John Caird
At the Lyric Opera of Chicago
Stunning, lush and so romantic new production of the popular Tosca delights the opening night audience.
“Living for Art, Dying for Love? –Tosca
Anchored by the amazing vocals of Brian Jagde’s strong tenor and Tatiana Serjan’s lilting soprano, John Caird’s new production of new production of Tosca look terrific with the multi-location set by Bunny Christie and sound lush and enchanting from conductor Dmitri Jurowski’s orchestra. This Tosca has a Russian flavor, as Serjan and Jurowski both native Russians.
As painter Mario Cavaradossi (the golden voiced Brian Jagde) work in a church in Rome in 1800, he has liaisons with his lover Floria Tosca (the enchanting Tatiana Serjan), who is jealous due to Mario painting Mary Magdalene to look like another local woman. But Mario is uneasy because he is helping his friend Angelotti (bass-baritone Richard Ollarsara) escape from political prison for being a Republican. Mario hides Angelotti in a well on his estate.
Police chief Scarpia (the commandingly evil tenor Evgeny Nikitin) uses Tosca in his search for the political prisoner. He plays on Tosca’s jealousy but she resists him as she stays loyal to her lover Mario. Scarpia enjoys his plan to execute the traitors to the state and seduce Tosca. But Cavaradossi, after his arrest, denies any knowledge of Angelotti’s whereabouts. Scarpia summons Tosca to the prison where he manipulates her by torturing Mario and letting his cries of agony be heard by her. Eventually, she tells him of Angelotti’s location.
Briefly, Mario and Tosca are reunited by he denounces her for betraying the Republican. When Tosca pleads to Scarpia for mercy for Mario, he exacts a price – that Tosca give into to Scarpia’s advances. She reluctantly agrees. But since Sacrpia has ordered Mario’s hanging, he devises a mock shooting to cover his allowing Mario to live. But Tosca demands a safe-passage note from Scarpia for her and Mario. He writes it out and she stabs him to death just as he tries to embrace her.
This swiftly paced and glowingly powerful and deeply romantic new production is a glorious example of Puccini’s emotional music. Add the tremendous vocals by Tatiana Serjan with her wonderful acting chops with the powerful deeply felt emotions from Brian Jagde’s Cararaducci and this stunning production enchanted and moved the opening night audience into screams of joy and vigorous applause. Powerful acting by the villain Scarpia(that earned him a “boo”) was spot on by Evgeny Nikitin to complement the ferocious performances by Jadge and Serjan. The Lyric Opera as another splendid production for both opera patrons and newbies to the art form. This is splendid opera. Don’t miss it.
Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: January 24, 2015
For more info checkout the Tosca page at theatreinchicago.com
At the Lyric Opera of Chicago, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL, /(312) 801-3362, tickets $20 -$369, running time is 2hours, 40 minutes with 2 intermissions, through March 14, 2015