Top Level Tosca At Teatro Colón

31/08/2016

ArgentinaArgentina 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

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Beethoven 250 at London’s Barbican __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera and more in Buenos Aires during 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Beethoven 250 at London’s Southbank Centre __________________________________
  • NEW! Snape Maltings – January to April 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Saffron Hall in February – August 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera in 2020 – Gluck’s Paris and Helen __________________________________
  • NEW! Surrey’s Grange Park Opera in 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Leeds Lieder Concert Series 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Edinburgh Usher Hall 2019-2020 Orchestral Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020 Ring Cycles __________________________________
  • 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! City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera House in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Opera in 2019-2020 and New Artistic Director __________________________________
  • UPDATED! ENB in 2019-2020 and Opening of their New London City Island Home __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Cleveland Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Free Review Summary Newsletter

    Search S&H

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW AND UPDATED! BEST OF 2019 FROM SOME OF OUR REVIEWERS __________________________________
  • NEW! PIANIST ZLATA CHOCHIEVA IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR TOM HAMMOND IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Ballet Icons Gala 2020 at the London Coliseum on 26 January __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Ballet’s 70th Anniversary Gala Performances – 17 & 18 January 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR HERVÉ NIQUET INTERVIEWED ABOUT GRÉTRY’S RICHARD, COEUR DE LION __________________________________
  • PIANIST JAMES LISNEY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • SOPRANO ANGELA GHEORGHIU IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • NOW REVIEWED! MATTHEW BOURNE’S ROMEO AND JULIET IN CINEMAS FROM 22 OCTOBER __________________________________
  • REVIEWED! Ron Howard’s Pavarotti in Cinemas 13 July (Preview) and Nationwide (15 July) __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR THOMAS SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH ITALIAN BARITONE FRANCO VASSALLO __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month