Top Level Tosca At Teatro Colón

31/08/2016

Puccini, ToscaSoloists, Chorus and Orchestra. Conductor: Carlos Vieu, Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires. 23.8.2016. (JSJ)

Photo credit: Arnaldo Colombaroli.

Tosca (c) Arnaldo Colombaroli.

Cast:
Floria Tosca: Eva-María Westbroek / Eiko Senda
Mario Cavaradossi: Marcelo Álvarez / Enrique Folger
Barón Scarpia: Carlos Álvarez / Fabián Veloz
Sacristán: Luis Gaeta / Gustavo Gibert
César Angelotti: Mario De Salvo / Emiliano Bulacios
Spoletta: Sergio Spina / Gabriel Centeno
Sciarrone: Fernando Grassi / Sebastián Sorarrain
Carcelero: Carlos Esquivel / Claudio Rotela
Pastor: Julieta Unrein / Morena La Vecchia Galán

Production:
Direction, sets and lighting by Roberto Oswald
Director/costumes: Aníbal Lápiz
Chorus: Miguel Martínez
Children’s Chorus: César Bustamante

This production of Tosca at the Teatro Colón has been eagerly awaited and was significant for several reasons.

First (and in no particular order) it was given as homage to the late Roberto Oswald, who died aged 80 in 2013 after a long and distinguished career in the production of opera and ballet, much of it at the Teatro Colón. The production was his, dating from 1992, with reprises in 1993, 1998 and 2003, and now again with apparently some minor adaptations by long-time collaborator Aníbal Lápiz, who was also responsible for the very appropriate costumes. 

And a grand production it was with the scenery very much from another era and perhaps unlikely to be encountered in a new production today, with the splendour of the church of Sant’Andrea della Valle and the Palacio Farnese in the first two acts and the striking monument on the Castel Sant’Angelo for the third. Large spaces made for a realistic unfolding of the drama, without ever feeling crowded.

Second, it marked the return to the Colón 19 years after his debut of the tenor Marcelo Álvarez as Cavaradossi. Whatever the reason(s) for that it is now finally past and he acquitted himself well. In several interviews he referred to the obvious pressures to the high expectations of him performing again in his home country but on stage there were no signs of that and he displayed all the power and intensity with the colours and nuances of voice that have resulted in him gaining the international stature that he has.

Third, alongside Álvarez was Eva-María Westbroek making her Colón debut in the title role – and also Carlos Álvarez, last seen in Cura’s Otello, as Scarpia, to make up a rare top level cast. Westbroek’s Tosca was a powerful one, moving easily from the jealous lover of Cavaradossi in the first act to the hardening but potentially submissive mistress of Scarpia in the second and the mixed emotions of hope and despair in the third culminating in her jumping to her death.

Carlos Álvarez’s Scarpia was no less powerful and always refined, nevertheless showed the streaks of cruelty and passion that ultimately result in his death. Among the other cast, Luis Gaeta presented a bumbling but solid Sacristan and Mario De Salvo a correct Angelotti, while Sergio Spina was a restrained Spoletta.

Last but not least, this was first full opera production under the musical direction of Carlos Vieu. No stranger to the Colón podium, the sure hand that he has shown in operatic productions elsewhere was very much in evidence, with good response from the orchestra, as also from the two choruses.

Álvarez hinted in one of the interviews, without giving any details, that he will be back perhaps as soon as next year – and that is certainly something to look forward to.

Jonathan Spencer Jones

Print Friendly

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music in 2017-18 at London’s Barbican __________________________________
  • NEW! 2017 50th Blossom Music Festival season in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio __________________________________
  • NEW! The Carnegie Hall 2017-2018 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Preview of the LA Opera 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Grange Park Opera’s 2017 Season in its New Opera House __________________________________
  • NEW! Garsington Opera’s Extended 2017 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2017-18 Barbican Classical Music Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Symphonic Soundscapes: Cadogan Hall and RPO Announce Exclusive Collaboration with Digital App Octava __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2017 Aldeburgh Festival is from 9 to 25 June __________________________________
  • NEW! The Grange Festival’s First Season in June and July 2017 __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera Buenos Aires 2017 With a Focus On Co-productions __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • NEW! Reviews of Opera in Mumbai: A Gala and La Bohème Revisited __________________________________
  • NEW! FIVE YOUNG SINGERS JOIN THE JETTE PARKER YOUNG ARTISTS FOR 2017 __________________________________
  • NEW! THE SOPRANO ELISABETH MEISTER: FIGHTING BACK FROM WHAT LIFE THROWS AT YOU AND INSPIRING OTHERS __________________________________
  • NEW! REVIEWERS OF SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL PICK THEIR BEST OF 2016 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Mastersingers Celebrate Wagner Past and Present with the Rehearsal Orchestra __________________________________
  • NEW! MARTYN BRABBINS IS ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA’S NEW MUSIC DIRECTOR __________________________________
  • NEW! MONICA HUGGETT IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • UPDATED IN MEMORIAM – SIR NEVILLE MARRINER CH, CBE (1924 – 2016) __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H