Puccini, Tosca: Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra of Buenos Aires Lírica, Conductor: Javier Logioia Orbe. Teatro Avenida, Buenos Aires. 8.5.2015. (JSJ)
Tosca: Mónica Ferracani
Cavaradossi: Enrique Folger
Scarpia: Homero Pérez-Miranda
Angelotti: Christian Peregrino
Sacristan: Enzo Romano
Spoletta: Sergio Spina
Director/sets: Marcelo Perusso
Procuccostumes: Stella Maris Müller
Lighting: Rubén Conde
Chorus: Juan Casasbellas
Children’s chorus: Rosana Bravo
Despite the continuing popularity of Puccini’s Tosca, with some of his best known music, productions in Buenos Aires are relatively few and far between and for example there has been just one production (late last year as it happens) over the past six years. Despite a drive to put on some of the lesser performed works, Buenos Aires Lírica hasn’t put on Tosca until now, to open its 13th season – and its clearly been worth the wait.
Tosca is set in Rome in June 1800 following Napoleon’s defeat of the Austrians in the battle of Marengo. Angelotti, the escaped prisoner, was a consul of the Roman Republic, his friend Cavaradossi, the artist, is a Bonapartist, and Cavaradossi’s lover is in the sights of Scarpia, chief of the secret police. With murder, execution and suicide, all are dead by the end of the opera – which was based on Victorien Sardou’s play of the same name, written for the actress Sarah Bernhardt.
This production by Marcelo Perusso was faithful to the time and place, with some suggestion, for example we do not see the picture on which Cavaradossi is working and Tosca’s suicide was blacked out. On the other hand there was a visualization of Cavaradossi’s torture and perhaps most seriously the second act cantata was sung on stage all but overshadowing the dialogue between Scarpia and Cavaradossi after the latter’s arrest.
Mónica Ferracani was a dramatic and forceful Tosca and her “Vissi d’arte” was enthusiastically applauded. Enrique Folger was a defiant Cavaradossi with a strong but not always nuanced voice. Cuban/Chilean Homero Pérez-Miranda is known for the darker roles and brought depth and colour to the role of Scarpia. Christian Peregrino as Angelotti, Enzo Romano as the Sacristan and Sergio Spina as Spoletta provided effective support, as did the chorus trained by Juan Casasbellas and Rosana Bravo’s children’s chorus.
Javier Logioia Orbe conducted with precision, bringing out the drama and emotion of the work, and ensuring a fine start to Buenos Aires Lírica’s 2015 season.
Jonathan Spencer Jones