Magazine article Opera Canada

Victoria

Magazine article Opera Canada

Victoria

Article excerpt

Puccini's Tosca is a warhorse in the opera world, and there are good reasons why it's so often performed: its packed with great tunes, everyone dies in truly dramatic fashion and audiences love to boo the bad guy at curtain call. Pacific Opera Victoria's production (seen Apr. 4) was for the most part rock-solid, with only a couple of wobbles.

Joni Henson shone as Tosca, with a lovely bit of milk chocolate mezzo enriching her soprano. She can act, too, and her "Vissi d'arte" sung from her knees, was a moving lament. Henson also had good chemistry with her Cavara-dossi, Luc Robert, who sounded a touch covered with his "Recondita armonia" in Act I (sung practically as soon as the poor tenor gets on stage), but bounced back later with a smoother, more liquid "E lucevan le stelle" in Act III.

Where things fell apart slightly was the Act II interaction between Tosca and Baron Scarpia, sung by David John Pike. His baritone is full and rich, and in Act I he was wonderful as the corrupt police chief on the hunt both for an escaped prisoner and the object of his desire, Tosca. But when he finally got the woman alone, his lust felt more schoolboyish than menacing. …

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