Tosca - Chisinau National Opera
MICHAEL DRAKE Norwich Theatre Royal
Norwich Theatre Royal
The two main ingredients of this production - passion and romance - go well with the Italian language and last evening when added to political strife, a drop of physical violence, double-dealing and operatic deaths, they made powerful and dramatic scenes.
And of course, Puccini's wonderful score, given brassy full value by the Chisinau National Opera orchestra conducted by Nicolae Dohotaru.
Overall however, this was a rather stylised performance and static in much of the acting - common in Moldova but not quite what we expect. Having said that the second act was literally a revelation and Natalia Margarit's interpretation of Floria Tosca's “vissi d'arte” was for me the turning point, with a superbly controlled aria.
In a perverse way, it was almost a pity that no more would be heard of Vladimir Dragos' rich baritone as the always menacing Scarpia.
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Throughout the production, Vyacheslav Okunev's sets added much to the enjoyment.
As for the “hero”, the painter Cavaradossi of Andriy Perfilov was in a lighter manner and perhaps early on at least, not dramatic enough.
But his first-act aria “recondita armaria” was sung with great feeling but Valeriu Cojocaru added real character as well as a beautifully warm baritone to the part of the Sacristan.
Not a vintage performance perhaps but it held interest for all that.