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So to Tosca, but not as you know her – filmed at Salzburg last year. Michael Sturminger’s production is modern-dress, and inspired by film noir. Somehow it doesn’t all hang together. It starts with a shoot-out and ends… well, I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but all does not progress quite as Puccini and his librettists intended and sometimes jars quite badly. Cavardossi’s portrait of Mary Magdalene is a huge statue resembling the World Cup Trophy; Scarpia starts Act II pedaling away upon his exercise bike, and on it goes. Christian Thielemann’s spacious conducting at times pushes his cast to the limits. Anja Harteros is occasionally a touch under the note as Tosca, though produces some ravishing sounds as well, and her acting is detailed. Aleksandrs Antonenko’s tenor improves through the performance, but is can be bleaty and doesn’t blend well with Harteros’s soprano. His acting is less convincing. Ludovic Tézier’s Scarpia is given the most interesting interpretation to develop, and his baritone is rich and firm. Orchestra, chorus and supporting cast are all strong. But despite the attempt at making something different of the opera it never springs to life and appears a series of tricks rather than a satisfactory whole.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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