Appropriate church setting for this Puccini masterpiece
Reviewed at the Clayton Wesley Uniting Church on 19 February 2019
Presented by Mopoke Theatre Productions
The setting of Tosca in a church was a great move; besides providing the atmosphere, the acoustics were a bonus. Feeling almost immersed in the action, the closeness to the stage allowed the audience to see the emotion. The direction by Nicholas Cannon and his assistant director Monique Hapgood allowed the action to be centre stage, helpful in such a confined space.
Andrew Georg played Puccini’s beautiful music, never missing the other musicians, the piano making the production seem more intimate. Stripped back from fancy sets and props the simplicity allows the piece to shine. Bob Weatherly’s lighting keeping that feeling.
Tosca herself was beautifully sung by Joanna McWaters with the emotion and fire it required. Andrew Turner as her love, the painter Cavaradossi, gave depth to his performance especially in his duets with McWaters. The villain of the story, Baron Scarpia, was well sung by Joshua Rowe. He gave the role all the viciousness it needed and believably mislead the other characters. Daniel Goodburn as Cavaradossi’s friend (the escaped convict Angelotti) was in good voice, as was Rodney Kirk in the other parts.
The chorus, although not on stage frequently, were enjoyable and added much to the feel of the piece.
The theme of love and jealousy is familiar in operas; but Puccini does it so well and with beautiful music, well worth a visit by music lovers.
Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Venue: Clayton Wesley Uniting Church at The Spire Community
Season: 19, 21, 23 Feb
Duration: 135 min
Tickets: $35 -$40