Sunday, 29 May 2016

Giacomo Puccini, Tosca - Staatsoper im Schillertheater Berlin

Performance 25th May

Tosca is probably one of the most famous operas and a great example of Puccini's thrilling dramatic power. If you have three very good protagonists this opera can have a very strong impact on the audience. The production of the Staatsoper was directed by Alvis Hermanis and convinces with a very differentiated conduction of the characters. Hermanis worked out many small details that intensified the experience of this opera and told the plot more than appropriately. Kristine Jurjane was responsible for the décor which looked really beautifully and especially the costumes were really elegant and nice. The only thing that was a bit cheesy were the projections which showed the plot as a comic during the whole performance.
The Staatskapelle Berlin was led by Domingo Hindoyan who showed a very balanced interpretation with a great sense for the dramatic flow of the plot. At some points there could have been more power (finale of act 1) but alltogether he led the performance really well. Also the Staatskapelle played ravishingly and conveyed the verismo spirit of this opera. From the many elegant lines to the dramatic outbursts everything you could wish for was there.
As for the soloists, Tosca basically has three big roles and then several really small roles. These smaller roles were casted really solidly and helped to improve the overall impression. Florian Hoffmann (Spoletta), Vincenzo Neri (Sciarrone) and Dominic Barberi (jailer) sang very well and did a good job in these roles. As Angelotti we heard Grigory Shkarupa whose voice suited this role of the young rebel on the run very well. Jan Martiník as sacristan sounded much more apropriately than as hermit last week. His singing and acting suited the role perfectly and he gave a very good performance.
In the role of the main antagonist Scarpia we heard George Gagnidze who has a powerful dark voice with a very heroic but also elegant timbre. His performance was so convincing because of his good acting skills and a really thrilling performance full of emotion. During the second act his sadistic nature was really obvious but also the glowing desire for Tosca.
Fabio Sartori sang the role of Cavaradossi with exceptional stamina and a very Italian voice that was perfect for the role. This one seems to suit his voice way better than Pollione because of the dramatic aspects of the role. His top notes are powerful and focused without any signs of strain.
The most thrilling performance of the evening was made by the singer of the title role, Anja Kampe. What a Tosca! Her full voice has a very warm and beautiful timbre but also exceptional stamina and great expressive abilities. The very top of her voice could be a little bit more controlled but the overal impression was marvelous. Her performance was so thrilling that I almost forgot that it is just an opera. Having heard her only in German repertoire so far I was surprised how well she did in this role and she surely is one of the best Toscas around.
Alltogether it was a great night with a wonderful performance that really touched me. I loved every minute of it and so I would give 9 stars.
Reviewed by Daniel Url

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