Gay City News, May 28, 2010
Tosca, Metropolitan Opera, 14. April 2010 (Vorstellung am 17. April 2010)
The Jonas Sensation

Kaufmann ignites Met “Tosca” and “Carmen” (siehe Carmen Kritiken)
In opera, sometimes there’s God... so quickly! The Met brought back the dismal Luc Bondy “Tosca” staging that opened this season with a round of boos –– and a new cast and conductor gave us the most compelling Met “Tosca” anyone had seen for several decades (April 17).

Richard Peduzzi’s anti-theatrical sets remain a blot, Act One’s oddly Byzantine Sant’Andrea delle Valle resembling the Ravenna Motorways Bureau storage garage, complete with floodlights and ball-bearing-based, sub-IKEA furniture, and Act Two’s Palazzo Farnese a TV-and-pizza lobby in an ’80s state university dorm. But many pointless bits of business have vanished (some between the prima and the HD telecast), and the remainder scarcely mattered when one had on hand three fiercely intelligent theatrical stage animals.

Patricia Racette, who just ventured her first Tosca this season in Houston, stepped in for Karita Mattila, whose autumn Tosca had been a rare awkward venture for the popular Finnish diva. Racette, with a less remarkable but more obedient and pliable instrument, turned the full light of her dramatic intelligence on the role, sounding at times more like Mimi or Liu, but always in the moment and interpretively persuasive. Congratulations are in order to this skilled professional.

Jonas Kaufmann ventured his first spinto role at the Met, proving an unconventional yet deeply memorable Cavaradossi. Kaufmann is tall, dark, and shaggily handsome; unlike many such apparitions on today’s opera stage, he also sings exceptionally well, with musicianship, taste, and a personal timbre that’s attractive even if not typically “Italianate.”

He starts covering his tone very low, with results sometimes sounding almost baritonal. But for Cavaradossi’s big show-off moments, he fired off huge, ringing high notes I haven’t heard in this role since the salad days of Giuseppe Giacomini.

Bryn Terfel, a rare Met guest in recent years, does not disappear into the characters he plays, but “Bryn doing Scarpia” was easy to admire, with finely projected star quality tone (lighter in timbre than years back), much dynamic play, and a relish for pointing words.

John del Carlo’s strongly vocalized Sacristan also marked a step up.

The enlivening hand of Fabio Luisi in the pit should be stressed. Dresden’s shabby treatment of him freed the talented conductor up for several Met gigs this season, and here the orchestra sounded unified and fired up. His appointment as principal guest conductor makes for the best Met news in some time.
Foto: Jonas Kaufmann proved an unconventional yet deeply memorable Cavaradossi in “Tosca.” (CORY WEAVER/ METROPOLITAN OPERA)

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