Staatsoper opened the season (the last one in Schillertheater) with Puccini’s Tosca. Directed by Alvis Hermanis, under music direction by Domingo Hindoyan, starring Angela Gheorghiu (Tosca), Fabio Sartori (Mario Cavaradossi), Micael Volle (Scarpia). The premiere performance was a great success. The next performance (24.09.2016), got the point too.
Hermanis idea was to recreate Tosca’s story. He used the scenography to divide the stage in to the two complementary worlds. One- seen on the large display in the upper part of scenography (by Kristine Jurjane), second one- performed on the stage. Pictures seen on the screen were not only the displayed, nice pictures. They needed to be understood more deeply. They were like hidden thoughts, real and fairy- looked Tosca story, which was shown real on the stage. Just below the “screen”. Hermanis created Tosca’s hidden world, showing the emotional states of every single role, psychology of the characters. Tosca, as well as Mario and Scarpia were much more alive, real and true, than in “typical” Tosca story. The paintings displayed above the stage were like comic book, illustrating the simple, plain story, the Cast were like translators, painters of the story at the stage, giving the emotions, understanding, hidden meanings of simple and really beautiful, subtle pictures. And that was possible, because of the singers, involved in that production.
Without any doubts, the brightest star was Angela Gheorghiu, in title role. Her Tosca was incredibly real, facing plenty of different emotional states. Gheorghiu’s vocal possibilities were impressive, she went through the most difficult points of the score, without any hesitation, showing not only wide, strong forte and high registers, but pleasant, secure, round lower sounds. The moment Tosca begs Scarpia was one of the most powerful in the whole opera. Not only due to Sopranos’ great possibilities, but the emotional acting too. Her begging was real, it can be and was felt in the audience. The most awaited- “Vissi d’arte” was more subtle, really emotional, with the culmination points. It’s a pity, that the orchestra was a little bit too late, but Gheorghiu got the point and made Tosca even more authentic and feminine.
Mario, playesd by Fabio Sartori, an Italian tenor, was impressive too. Sartori’s bright, wide voice with secure, controlled hights got the audience and sounded really nice, combined with Gheorghiu’s timbre. Duets were delicate, showing lovers’ emotions, but in the subtle way. Mario was a little bit shy, but loving and showing his force in the tortures scene. With “E lucevan le stelle” Sartori created the picture of the resigned to fate man, but having a hope, and somehow- strength, still loving Tosca. His timbre and deep understanding of the character got the audience, who gave him a great round of applause, next to Angela Gheorghiu and Michael Volle, who played Scarpia. The baritone created passionate, vulgar and sometimes slightly grotesque character. The moments Scarpia met Tosca were magnetic and really strong. It was strongly noticeable when the feelings change. From indifference to passionate, covetous to furious (or even frantic). Scarpia’s aria was a little bit covered with the orchestra sound (sometimes musicians played too loud, but the way they “painted” the duets was stunning), but gave the needed emotions.
The Staatsoper’s Tosca, directed by Alvis Hermanis is one of the most real and emotional Tosca’s performances. Thanks to the great Cast it was possible to create the inner feelings and express Puccini’s thoughts and idea. The performance belonged, without any doubts, to Angela Gheorghiu, whose Tosca was not only great acted, but due to her vocal possibilities- great sung too. The way she performed Puccini’s character can surely make her the best Tosca in nowadays opera world.