Presented by State Opera
Reviewed 12 November 2016
Tosca is one of the load-bearing columns of the opera canon: every company needs to do it once every ten years, and it is always a house-filler. Puccini’s genius was in being able to evoke emotion through music, even when the audience has no particular connection to the action on stage. We all well up during any decent rendition of Nessun Dorma, even though we don’t really know what it’s about, and I’ve never met anyone who has actually seen a production of Turandot. I swear, if Puccini were alive today, he would write country songs!
State Opera does not disappoint with this co-production with Welsh National Opera. Directed by veteran opera director Cath Dadd, and with the ever-sensational Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, under Nicholas Braithwaite’s firm baton, it could hardly go wrong.
Outstanding in the lead role of Tosca is Kate Ladner. Ladner was made to sing this role, both in terms of her radiant stage presence and her angelic, yet powerful voice. Soaring with her is Rosario La Spina as Cavaradossi and the fabulous Mario Bellanova as Scarpia. Rounding out the cast is the popular Jeremy Tatchell as Angelotti and John Bolton Wood as the sacristan. Splendid performers all.
One of the elements that makes State Opera so very good is the Chorus, which gets better all the time, under the expert guidance of Chorus Master Timothy Sexton.
Add to this the awe-inspiring scenery of Ashley Martin-Davies, lit brilliantly, as always, by Nigel Levings, and you have a production that only the hardest, Scarpia-like heart could not love!
If you have not yet given opera a go, Tosca is a great place to start. Although the plot-line is corny, it is accessible, passionate, dramatic, and rattles along at a rollicking pace.
And you will find yourself, as I did, despite knowing the story, and being an old cynic, with tears rolling down my cheek at the final scene.
Damn that Puccini. Master manipulator of emotions!
Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Venue: Adelaide Festival Theatre
Season: 15th, 17th, 19th November 7.30pm
Tickets Tickets $45-$180