The skyline of Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
In Puccini’s opera Tosca, performed at the Israeli Opera, director Alessandro Televi and set designer Adolfo Hohenstein were supposed to recreate the opera’s first performance in 1900. Whether Puccini himself would have been happy with Tosca falling to her death by jumping from a high cliff, or with the realistic enacting of Scarpia’s killing scene, or with the chiaroscuro of the last scene, remains an open question.
After all, directors and set designers’ tastes in art do not necessarily change within 119 years, while that of the audience apparently does.
In the title role, Iano Tamar made one understand why women fell in love with her clear, bright soprano. Her emotionally and intensely expressive aria was one of the performance’s highlights. Her impassioned outcries during the stabbing of her tormentor might well serve as a motto for any feminist initiative.
As Cavaradossi, Gustavo Porta’s soft lyrical tenor personified an impassioned lover who knew how to prolong his significant high notes to let the impression to sink in.
In the role of Scarpia, Puccini’s substitute for Verdi’s Iago, Sebastian Catana’s menacing baritone was the personification of evil par excellence.
Conducted by Daniel Oren, the Symphony Orchestra Rishon Lezion sensitively and effectively impressively emphasized the work’s emotional and dramatic passages.
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