Tosca a hit despite the coughing fit
The Danish National Opera took to the Old Stage last night to perform Giacomo Puccini’s ‘Tosca’ to a packed house that hacked and coughed its way through a gripping performance of this classical opera. Flu and opera season may have proved unhappy bedfellows, but no matter. As soon as The Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Puccini specialist Giordano Bellincampi struck up their first note, we were transported to the Rome of June 1800 and the studio of the artist Cavaradossi, Tosca’s doomed lover.
While the set design by Herbert Murauer was unadventurous (perhaps partly because the opera is being lugged from one Danish town to another over the course of February and March) and the production by Elisabeth Linton was far from groundbreaking, this was still a mesmerising performance of the tragic tale of love, jealousy and betrayal. Puccini’s genius for weaving arias and choruses into one incredibly powerful and moving whole, combined with standout performances by key cast members, kept us gulping down lumps in our throats throughout the second and third acts.
Victoria Nava, romping around the stage in indecently tight outfits that threatened to unleash her ample bosom, was the real star of the show. From flirtatious lover to demented victim, she sang and acted beautifully. The audience was captivated as was the evil scheming Scarpia, sung by Robert Hyman and Cavaradossi, performed extremely well by Danilo Formaggia. In fact, it was the chemistry between Tosca and Cavaradossi that sealed the performance’s success.
With crowd-pleasing music, a tragic if predictably predictable plot and a large lady who really can sing, this is an enjoyable and accessible opera. Catch it if you can before the final performance in Odense on March 20.
Tosca – March 5
This performance of Tosca is on tour throughout Denmark until March 20.