The lyrics of the song come to my mind…”I had the time of my life”.. Well, let’s say that this second performance of Tosca at Royal Opera House was one of my best operatic experiences so far. Best cast anyone could hope for Tosca at this moment, fully supported by ROH orchestra conducted by Antonio Pappano.
When lights go out and the applauses welcoming the conductor finish, there’s another world opening in front of us. It’s up to each and every one of us if we enter it. But once the mind is open to beautiful music, nothing else counts.
This evening I entered Tosca’s world, with her love, jealousy, fear, hope. As this is not the first time I see this production, I searched for those tiny details that turned the performance from best to perfect.
I saw the first two acts from the amphitheatre, a place that offers amazing sound and very good view of everything that happens on stage. Looking forward to the first "Mario". The same words are uttered towards the end but the feeling there is quite opposite. Now Tosca smiles and makes plans. Loved Angela’s reaction to seeing the painting on the wall. First she’s nervous, which leads to that high note. Than she’s smiling and giggling, willing to forgive on one condition, to have Mario paint in black the eyes of the woman in the portrait. Have you noticed what she does after that? She picks up the can of paint, puts the brush in it and then offers the brush to Mario. As if saying ..come on… haven’t you heard me? People laugh, and I think this is the only funny moment of the entire opera. Well, they laugh before the words are said by the singers, meaning that most of them first read the subtitles then watch the stage to see the movements. But that's another thing.
Scarpia is a phenomenon from beginning to the end. His entrance is clearly marked by the orchestra. And this first act gives us just a glimpse of the future relationship between him and Tosca. Bryn IS Scarpia. You should have seen the look in his eyes when he realized that he can make Tosca accept his proposals. Then at some point he stays behind her and with a quick move he steals the red ribbon from her hair.