Magazine article Opera Canada

Pacific Opera Victoria

Magazine article Opera Canada

Pacific Opera Victoria

Article excerpt

For its final production of the season, Pacific Opera Victoria came up with a Tosca that audiences won't forget in a hurry. When Tosca (Christine Riel) bumped off Scarpia (John Avey) with startling verisimilitude in Act II, for instance, I'm surprised no one dialed 911. Tosca is replete with treachery, torture, attempted rape, suicide and murder--with all the lead characters dead at the end. With its shameless plot manipulation, it's no wonder Joseph Kerman described it as a "shabby little shocker" in his book, Opera as Drama. But then, it's the kind of plot an audience loves, just as Scarpia is the kind of villain an audience loves to hate. Avey, with his booming, black baritone, wrung every last shred of malevolence from his character and dominated the stage whenever he was present. Riel sang Tosca with passionate fervor, melting to disbelief and vulnerability for "Vissi d'arte." It was a glorious, wide-ranging performance, going well beyond the vocal component of the role. …

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