A Convincing, if not Extraordinary, Tosca at the Deutsche Oper

16/11/2016

Puccini, Tosca: Orchestra, Chorus and Kinderchor of the Deutsche Oper / Ivan Repušić (conductor), Deutsche Oper, Berlin, 15.11.2016. (JMI)

<i>Tosca</i> © B. Stöss

Anja Harteros (Tosca) © B Stöss

Cast:
Tosca – Anja Harteros
Cavaradossi – Jorge De León
Scarpia – Lucio Gallo
Sacritan – Seth Carico
Angelotti – Ben Wager
Spoletta – James Kryshak
Sciarrone – Alexei Botnarciuk
Jailer – Dong-Hwan Lee
Shepherd – Wiebke Friedrich

Production:

Director – Boleslaw Barlog; Gerlinde Pelkowski (revival)
Sets and Costumes – Filippo Sanjust

My trip to Berlin has come to an end with this Tosca starring Anja Harteros. It has to be difficult to always perform at an exceptional level, like the one offered by Ms. Harteros as Tosca in Munich last July. The rest of the Munich cast and the conductor were truly superb, and this always helps a singer give the best of herself. That was not the case here: it was a good Tosca but not the extraordinary evening that one expects from a great singer like Anja Harteros.

The Deutsche Oper once again staged the Boleslaw Barlog production, which has now been performed an impressive 381 times. I’ve reviewed it several times, and my opinion is basically unchanged (review).

The musical direction was under the baton of Ivan Repušić, a frequent presence in the Deutsche Oper pit. Unfortunately, his conducting had to fight with my memory of Kirill Petrenko leading Tosca so brilliantly last summer. Ivan Repušić’s reading was adequate and perfectly correct, although there was some excess volume. The Deutsche Oper Orchestra, Chorus and Kinderchor all performed well.

Anja Harteros made her debut in this role at the Deutsche Oper almost four years ago. I was fortunate enough to attend those performances, and was dazzled by her Tosca in every possible way. I was even more taken by her Tosca in Munich a few months ago. But this time, although she gave a remarkable performance, she didn’t reach the amazing heights of the earlier occasions. She lacked chemistry with her Cavaradossi, didn’t relate as well to the audience, and even vocally was less sensational, but she is still a great Tosca. Although my comments are subjective, I noted that the applause after her ‘Vissi d’arte’ lasted half as long as in 2013.

Jorge de León was Cavaradossi, and his voice could not be more appropriate to the character: attractive and bright, as few tenors are nowadays. However, his interpretation could have used more nuance, and he took refuge in open sounds. I was surprised with the wide vibrato he exhibited at the beginning of the opera, especially in ‘Recondita armonia’, which was then partially corrected. His interpretation of ‘È lucevan le stele’ was unconvincing, but he was at his best in ‘Vittoria, vittoria’ in Act II.

Baritone Lucio Gallo replaced Falk Struckmann at the last minute. Gallo was an excessively vociferous Scarpia, the opposite of what Bryn Terfel offered earlier in the part. Obviously, he has a voice well suited to the character, but the evil Scarpia needs more elegance and nuance.

The Sacristan was again played by Seth Carico, who has a rather light voice for the role. Ben Wager also repeated as Angelotti and, as earlier, he was somewhat modest in vocal terms. James Kryshak as Spoletta was appropriate vocally but extremely exaggerated on stage.

José M. Irurzun

Comments

Comments

  1. Anna Barsi says:

    I am Anna from Italy and, that night, Nov 15, I was in Deutsche Oper in Berlin to hear live, for the first time, Jorge de Leon.
    Regarding this ‘Tosca’ I agree with your comments, especially when you say that the volume of the orchestra was too high. I was in row 10 and the singers’ voice was annoyingly covered by the orchestra. I was disappointed as I was there to hear De Leon’s voice and it was not totally possible.
    The other thing really unappreciable was the end of the 1st Act, when the Choir singing the Te Deum was not heard at all, due to the wrong position of the Choir on the stage I think.
    So I came back home with a positive (but partial) impression on Jorge De Leon (the purpose of my travel) but with a negative impression of the Deutsche Oper Theatre for this construction musically wrong.
    Thanks
    Anna Barsi

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020 Ring Cycles __________________________________
  • NEW! Roman River 2019 Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Ex Cathedra’s 50th Anniversary Season in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Geneva Grand Théâtre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2019-20 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden __________________________________
  • NEW! Bregenz Festival 17 July – 18 August 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Musikfest Berlin 2019 from 30 August to 19 September __________________________________
  • NEW! 2019 BBC Proms 19 July – 14 September __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera House in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Opera in 2019-2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Adrian Partington Introduces the 2019 Three Choirs Festival in Conversation with John Quinn __________________________________
  • NEW! ENB in 2019-2020 and Updates on their New London City Island Home __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music and Other Events at the Southbank Centre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Cleveland Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music at the Barbican in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! CHORUS MASTER STEPHEN DOUGHTY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Ron Howard’s Pavarotti in Cinemas 13 July (Preview) and Nationwide (15 July) __________________________________
  • NEW! MULTI-FACETED MUSICIAN JOY LISNEY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • NEW! ‘MUSICAL MAGIC’: AN INTERVIEW WITH VIOLINIST HENNING KRAGGERUD __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Ballet Announces Winners of Emerging Dancer 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR THOMAS SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Chelsea Opera Group Perform Anton Rubinstein’s The Demon on 30 June __________________________________
  • NEW! In August Fulham Opera’s Most Ambitious Project to Date – Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg __________________________________
  • R.I.P. IN MEMORIAM ANDRÉ PREVIN (1929-2019) __________________________________
  • NEW! CHRISTOPHE ROUSSET IN CONVERSATION WITH COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR ÁDÁM FISCHER IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month