Puccini's Tosca

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

The new production of Tosca Luc Bondy's production of Tosca (Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera)

Puccini’s Tosca returns to the Met in its much-talked-about production by director Luc Bondy.

The version you’ll hear today includes a debut performance by conductor Mikko Franck, the artistic director of the Finnish National Opera. Complementing Franck’s debut is the farewell performance by bass Paul Plishka, a Met staple since 1967. Another Met regular, soprano Patricia Racette, sings the title role with tenor Robert Dean Smith as Cavaradossi and baritone James Morris as Scarpia.

Production Details:

Conductor: Mikko Franck

Tosca: Patricia Racette

Cavaradossi: Marcelo Álvarez

Scarpia: James Morris

Sacristan: Paul Plishka

Production: Luc Bondy

Comments [31]

Dr. Peter from west harrison, NY

every scene in this production -- except the finale atop Sant Angelo -- should be scrapped. The church looks like a prison. Farnese looks like a bordello. I shall be sure to miss the next Luc Bondy production. Hasn't Peter Gelb heard enough complaints about this miserable production to bring back the Zefferelli, or any previous magnificent scenery and staging?

Feb. 06 2012 11:44 PM
Magnolia from New York

As an avid opera fan since childhood, and having stood on line at the "old " Met for hours in order to purchase tickets for standing room I kind of feel qualified to complain a bit....saw Jussi and Zinka in the fifties in a performance of Tosca....marvelous...I'm sorry to say I tuned out of the broadcast before the final scenes...could not bear the terribly mediocre singing...too bad.

Feb. 02 2012 03:27 PM
LOL from America-lol


Jan. 31 2012 03:35 PM
S.M.Manger from UK

Tosca relay to Europe [Sat mat] was shakey to say the least. Frank is a very fine conductor indeed but he was often royally mucked about by on-stage showboating.

Racette was simply awful - vibrato the width of a truck giving you lots of options to guess the note she was supposed to singing and old favourite James Morris may be and hugged to the breast of Met audiences but he was about as scary as the local postman.

As usual, band VG - they can play better in their sleep than most outfits on speed.

Jan. 31 2012 05:44 AM
AF from Long Island

I enjoyed reading all the comments re: today's broadcast of the Met's Tosca. I quite agree with the comments about this dreadful new production! But one advantage of staying home and listening to it on the radio is you can imagine your own sets! In my head I was seeing the production the Met just got rid of, one that to me was the definitive Tosca production!

And I thought Morris sounded quite good, so was surprised others thought he did not.

Jan. 29 2012 02:46 AM

I am so angry with what is happening to opera today. A friend just suggested that I should start a blog that would become a medium for many to voice this type of complaints. It's about time we, the public take control of the future of the art we love so much. Anyone interested please write to suncita@gmail.com. Suggestions are welcome.

Jan. 28 2012 10:47 PM
Steven Fruh from New York, NY

Re the Paul Plishka tribute/farewell after act 1, both Peter Gelb and Paul Plishka took cheap shots at President Obama's "State of the Union" address. Making political statements during an opera broadcast is totally inappropriate. Especially coming from two grossly (sic) overpaid people whose compensation comes in part from government funding. How hypocritical indeed! What is that expression about biting the hand that feeds you? It is not only the Wall Street players who are out of sync with the needs of the country.

Jan. 28 2012 07:46 PM
Mrs Newman

No one who heard the 'tosca' broadcast with Malfitano and Franco Farina would be whining today.

and as for the recording with Jussi and Zinka, it may be an example of a great soprano at her worst.It's certainly nothing to measure a Tosca by.

That having been said, could we all just take a reality pill and acknowledge precious few of us could have done better today with difficult roles in a thankless production.

Jan. 28 2012 06:32 PM

There's a story about Puccini & Toscanini. It goes like this. They were hanging out in Italy & came across a poster for a perf. of Boheme that nite in the town. They decided to check it out. Almost all the singers were flat & were bad actors. At the end of Act 1 Toscanini turns to Pucci only to see him crying. Toscanini said it was bad but...Puccini responded Si, ma che bella musica (Yes, but what beautiful music).

Jan. 28 2012 04:21 PM
Minnie Falconer

Cavanaugh. Totally agree with you.

Jan. 28 2012 04:17 PM
Minnie Falconer

Sorry Concetta for not understanding. You are right that the recent sets are awful. They are trying to help the careers of these talentless designers whose only fame is for their notoriety, while the singers are in a second plane. Is this why they choose the worst instead of the best? In the meanwhile, we, the public have to suffer the consequences. And the worst consequence, because, if they keep it up, there will be no more opera for us who love it.

Jan. 28 2012 04:15 PM

Boos !!!! Did u listen to the Gotterdammerung b'cast last nite? When the production team came out, so did the boo birds AND RIGHTFULLY SO. These guys just don't get it. Change for the sake of change is not better or modern, it's stupid ! Even Gelb hinted that the previous Ring production is not entirely retired. This "Tosca" hurts. What kind of "Vittoria" was that? He couldn't even hold the high A long enough to make it exciting. Oh for the days of Zinka, Leontine, Birgit, Renata, Leonie and their cast-mates. Where have they all gone? AND WHERE ARE THE GREATS OF TODAY? Have they all disappeared? All the performances are so bland.

Jan. 28 2012 04:10 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau county

Ms. Minnie,I was writing about awful Metropolitan stage productions that have been presented lately. Just a general comment. Read the revue for the Tosca. Understand there were boos.

Jan. 28 2012 03:43 PM

Morris was walking thru the role bec. he no longer has the range. How sad after such a spectacular career to be remembered like this.

Jan. 28 2012 03:24 PM
olga radetsky

I totally agree with Cavanaugh why did they scap the magnificent Zefirelli production? This production should be thrown into the Tiber.

Jan. 28 2012 03:16 PM
Minnie Falconer

The soprano startet "Vissi d'arte" "calante" and she finished it "calante." Just awful! The audience gave her a courteous applause. They would probably say, "well,she didn't crack any note."

Jan. 28 2012 03:07 PM
Minnie Falconer

Concetta, the opera today is not Verdi's Macbeth. We are listening to Puccini's Tosca. BTW, the "Vissi d'arte" just started. The soprano began 1/2 note below what the orchestra was playing. What an awful moment!

Jan. 28 2012 03:03 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau county

My husband is paying more attention to this broadcast and wanted to know if the Met was using second string singers other than the tenor. As for the really strange sets, the Macbeth is a real disgrace. Which is too bad because the score of Macbeth is wonderful. The opera where Verdi became Verdi.

Jan. 28 2012 02:58 PM
Minnie Falconer

I stand corrected. Morris is not doing too well in the second act. He is having register problems (and a slight wobble). At least he looks good. I think I must be a masochist to keep listening to this. From what I can see on the Met page the settings are a disgrace. No wonder why people are staying away from the opera houses. Between these "minimalist" sets and mediocre singing, I don't blame them. It is sad to say that we will never see the likes of the golden age of opera again.

Jan. 28 2012 02:45 PM

I'm happy there are those who remember the real Guelfi - Giangiacomo. That was a voice, especially whe he partnered with Corelli. Both the performance and especially the production are basically 2nd class. Addio to Plishka and buonna fortuna. Sometimes singers just don't know when to cut back or even retire. The last telecast of Meistersinger with Morris was sad to see him trying to get up to those E's & F's for Sachs. Sometimes they have to let go of the bigger roles. Vienna has a wonderful tradition in keeping great artists of yrs. ago & gives them smaller roles which they can handle. Lubja sang for yrs. in Vienna so do Kmett. That's something the Met doesn't do. Allowing beloved singers who are now well past their prime still singing their great roles is actually doing a disservice to them. Beduzza - all the best, stay well. Let's hope for better days.

Jan. 28 2012 02:18 PM
Juan Merello-Galasso from Santiago de Chile

This superficiality and disrespect for serious matters, both from perfomers and, sepecially the ignorant and light public (including broadcasts commentarists), I mean in that part of the world..., is the reason of the similar situation seen currently in our influenceable public that not many years ago, were famous for their seriousness and demanding personalities. A Scarpia or a Tosca like this two ones, would have never sung in Teatro Municipal, where Ginagiacomo Guelfi and Bruson, together with 'good guy' Leo Nucci and many other ones, besides wonderful sopranos and tenor have performed Tosca several times.

Jan. 28 2012 02:06 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau county

Hello Beduzza Cavanaugh,
I have a wonderful recording with Zinka and Jussi but am listening anyway.
Always love the TeDeum with Scarpia voicing his filthy desires. I am afraid some of the singers are a little off today but Marcelo seems to be OK. Listen, they occasionally have a day off. Will be going about my business and perhaps not paying too much attention to the rest of the opera. Just listening.
Tante belle cose
e Auguri

Jan. 28 2012 01:57 PM
Juan Merello-Galasso from Santiago de Chile

I have the answer for all these vulgarities. It's the igorant undemanding people that deserve to be made full.

Jan. 28 2012 01:57 PM
Minnie Falconer

Judging from the wobbles by the soprano and the mediocre voice of the tenor, todays performance should be called "Scarpia." Never in my life have I heard such a cold and unremarkable "Recondita armonia." Morris, the base turned baritone so far has swept the other two leads under the carpet with his "Te Deum." I am sorry Plishka is retiring. He should stick around and teach these two a trick or two.

Jan. 28 2012 01:57 PM
Juan Merello-Galasso from Santiago de Chile

I'm quitting from listening this calamity. Why should I loose my time 'checking' this horrible 'cnspiration' against Puccini and serious opera admirers instead of getting a miracolous afternoon as those perfectly available a short while ago?

Jan. 28 2012 01:49 PM
Juan Merello-Galasso from Santiago de Chile

I share the opinion that it's at least an abuse to cast clearly second class singers when whe have a lot o fmagnificent good singers arround. Why artists of the caliber of Morris always stay up to make the ridiculous and receive plauses just for what they 'were', but not because of the anxieties aroused while listening tht flagran deterioration? Appart of the disrespect of offending works and their composers. Actually the MET has become extremely heterogenous. What can we expect for susequent Wagner's productions?

Jan. 28 2012 01:40 PM
sachs from Chile

Actually, while listening I realize public's smiles, that confirms tha rahter infantile personality of some opera people. As with respecto Morris (that's about to enter) I wishs him the best luck (veru inapropate situation for people listening Met productions). Also I feel inadequate to cast great Plishka as sacristan. Seems like a cruel joke. He deserves a preference location inside public to plause him. People laugh in the middle of a serious situation.. Funny and a disgrace to see Tosca felt as a buffo opera.

Jan. 28 2012 01:31 PM
Alexandra from Milano

Oh these wobbly singers!!! How do they get the jobs when there are so many great ones around? And this staging, the costumes... like an inner-city alleyway peopled by homeless characters!

Jan. 28 2012 01:24 PM

Why did they scap the magnificent Zefirelli production for this piece of garbage? I remember seeing Tebaldi, Del Monaco & London in the late 50's - didn't care what the scenery looked like - those voices - WOW !!!!! I just feel so bad for James Morris. He is coming to the ending of the magnificent road he's been on. I fear Scarpia may be too much for him but I will withhold my opinion until AFTER the performance. I hope he does well. As for Plishka I remember sitting next to him in the early 70's watching "Otello". A very nice guy and deserving to go out on a b'cast.

Jan. 28 2012 12:51 PM

Beduzza. I couldn't agree with you more.

Jan. 28 2012 12:43 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau county

Thank goodness James Morris is the Scarpia. Handsome, suave and a good actor. The Scarpia in the telecast was really awful as well as not so hot looking and fat. Looked like someone out of a cartoon. Whoever was responsible for the set design and direction should be thrown into the Tiber. The first act set looks like the loading dock at BJs. Second act looked like something out of Interview with the Vampire with the two prostitutes. Paul Plishka many years a great singing actor.

Jan. 28 2012 10:05 AM

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