TOSCA IN A TENT
TOSCA NEW PRODUCTION
31 MAY 2012
Musikalische Leitung Markus Stenz / Inszenierung Thilo Reinhardt / Bühne Paul Zoller / Kostüme Ulli Kremer / Licht Andreas Grüter / Dramaturgie Birgit Meyer / Chorleitung Andrew Ollivant
Floria Tosca Takesha Meshé Kizart
Mario Cavaradossi José Cura
Baron Scarpia Anthony Michaels-Moore
Cesare Angelotti Dennis Wilgenhof
Der Mesner Tiziano Bracci
Spoletta Martin Koch
Sciarrone Sévag Tachdjian
Ein Schließer Boris Djuric
Ein Hirt / Attavanti Rachel Bate
Chor Chor der Oper Köln
Kinderchor Kölner Domchor Orchester
|Supper time at Casa Scarpia|
It's hard to sense what Stenz is making of the score, because he had his hands full keeping an ear on Cura. Nonetheless, he held the orchestra together crisply and rallied the other singers cohesively without trying to score interpretive points.
While Cura appeared to be a considerate colleague to his fellow singers, some of them may have been a bit intimidated by his imposing presence. Takesha Meshé Kizart cut an alluring figure as the ill-fated Floria and was on point for the “big” moments: the climax of the first and third act duets, "Visi D'arte" and the high C on "...Io quella lama gli piantai nel cor...." Elsewhere, her smokey lyrico spinto -- pleasantly reminiscent of early Martina Arroyo -- was often blemished by a tendency to sing below the note. A sign of fatigue as well as a symptom of possibly demanding more of her gifts than they have yet to render at this point in career.
Anthony Michaels-Moore was in better shape, portraying Scarpia with chilling cynicism. But he gained the luster he lacked earlier in the performance only when Scarpia’s attack on Tosca began to pick up steam during the dining scene.
|Tafelspitz alla Tosca|
The new Tosca is also drawing big crowds because it's Cologne Opera's first production to be staged at a venue known as the Musical-Dome, which will serve as the Opera’s temporary quarters, while the opera house in Offenbach Platz undergoes a massive and controversial renovation program to the estimated tune of 250 million euros (about $315,000,000). This, amid more cutbacks in arts funding, not to mention the euro crisis and mounting national debt.
The building is actually a massive tent, which usually hosts pop concerts and itinerant Broadway, West End and European musicals. (Some years ago, I saw the German edition of Saturday Night Fever here. It had a significantly better cast than the one that eventually opened on Broadway.) Acoustically the auditorium is satisfactory, requiring no amplification, though vocal reverb varies as the singers move about the stage. The house is also tourist-friendly: It's located on the banks of the Rhine, close to the Cathedral and adjacent to the main train station -- much easier to find than Offenbach Platz.
The Cologne Opera will call the Musical-Dome home for the better part of the next three years.
Production Photos: Bernd Uhlig
Renovation Plan: Oper Köln
Other Photos & Graphics: Sam H. Shirakawa