Valencia, Tosca Da Capo

03/04/2012

SpainSpain G. Puccini, Tosca: Soloists, Orchestra Comunitat Valenciana, Chorus Generalitat Valenciana, Omer Meir Wellber (conductor), Valencia’s Palau de Les Arts, 1.4.2012 (JMI)

Coproduction Valencia’s Les Arts, Torre del Lago, Opera Montecarlo and Teatro Regio di Torino

Direction: Jean-Louis Grinda (original), Allex Aguilera (revival)
Sets: Isabelle Partiot-Pieri
Costumes: Christian Gasc
Lighting: Roberto Venturi

Cast:
Floria Tosca: Oksana Dyka
Mario Cavaradossi: Jorge de León
Baron Scarpia: Marco Vratogna
Angelotti: Mika Kares
Sacristano: Fabio Previati
Spoletta: Emilio Sánchez
Sciarrone: Aldo Heo
Jailer: Gianluca Buratto

Tosca: Picture courtesy Palau de les Arts, © Tato Baeza

 

After several performances of Tosca last spring, Valencia’s Palau de les Arts programmed the same production again, with a similar cast. I reviewed it last June (S&H review here) and little has happened to change my mind about it.

The musical direction was in the hands of Omer Meir Wellber, who had to contend with the memory of Zubin Mehta’s brilliant conducting last season. He managed to do that convincingly, for the most part. With good control, he coaxed a remarkable performance from the orchestra. But the first act never quite took flight. Matters got better from thereon, with higher doses of emotion coming from the pit.

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Oksana Dyka’s Tosca was almost a copy of last year’s. No objections to the suitability of her powerful and well projected voice as Tosca, which reminded me of the young Maria Guleghina. As for her interpretation, well, her voice was very good. But Tosca needs more than that.

Last year Jorge de Leon alternated in the role of Cavaradossi with Marcelo Alvarez. I had the opportunity to see him as Cavaradossi a month later at Teatro Real alongside Sondra Radvanovsky (S&H review here). There is no doubt that his voice is beautiful and important, with sufficient volume and a remarkable uniformity between registers, and without problems at the top, at least up to high B. Cavaradossi is a touchstone to evaluate the vocal qualities of an interpreter and I feel that his interpretation is one of a tenor of force, with many gifts but short of finesse. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised, at “Recondita Armonia”. If his “E lucevam le stelle” was powerful for the better, at “O dolci mani” he was unable to produce a piano sound. I wish he would moderate his impulses and pay more attention to phrasing and nuance. All the same, he connects very well with the audience.

Italian baritone Marco Vratogna was the new Scarpia and his performance was disappointing. His voice has never been truly beautiful, but was mellifluous enough, which it was not on this occasion His conception of Scarpia is rather rude: no elegance, and one-dimensional. The rest of the cast was the same as last June and did a good job again.

José Mª Irurzun

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