Puccini – Tosca (Riccardo Muti, Maria Guleghina, Salvatore Licitra, Leo Nucci) [2011 / 2000]
NTSC 16:9 (720×480) VBR Auto Pan&Scan | Italiano (LinearPCM, 2 ch), (Dolby AC3, 6 ch), (DTS, 5 ch) | 7.70 Gb (DVD9)
Classical | Label: EuroArts | Sub: Italiano, English, Deutsch, Francais, Espanol | +3% Recovery | 121 min
Tosca was revived to great acclaim at La Scala in this 2000 production, which built on Luca Ronconi’s 1996 version with musical direction from principal conductor Riccardo Muti and Lorenza Cantini’s nightmarishly distorted set. Puccini’s most recorded opera is loved and derided in equal measure for its high-octane dramatics, rich arias and the fire-spitting exchanges of the eponymous heroine and her wily tormentor Scarpia. Under Muti, the music takes precedence over the self-conscious theatricality of the book. As a result, some high dramatic points–the stabbing, always tricky, and Tosca’s suicide, equally dicey–are underplayed here.
Singers of the calibre of Maria Guleghina and baritone Leo Nucci can be relied upon for rounded, controlled performances. Guleghina eschews the ferocity of Callas for a less stately, earthier honesty and enjoys moments of great delicacy, particularly in a sweet “Vissi d’arte”. And her grief at Cavaradossi’s death is searing. The key to Tosca, though, is the ambivalent relationship between the singer and the chief of police. Scarpia is probably the most toxic antihero in opera, and Nucci could do with a touch more virulence. Even so, this is a fascinating production that strips away much of the traditional artifice and gives real insight into the complex emotions that make the opera so compelling for its devotees.
Floria Tosca – Maria Guleghina
Mario Cavaradossi – Salvatore Licitra
Il barone Scarpia – Leo Nucci
Cesare Angelotti – Giovanni Battista Parodi
Il sagrestano – Alfredo Mariotti
Spoletta – Ernesto Gavazzi
Sciarrone – Silvestro Sammaritano
Un carceriere – Ernesto Panariello
Un pastore – Virginia Barchi
Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala
Conductor – Riccardo Muti