BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in February 2004We've left it here for reference.More information

24 July 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
OxfordOxford

BBC Homepage
»BBC Local
Oxford
Things to do
People & Places
Nature
History
Religion & Ethics
Arts and Culture
BBC Introducing
TV & Radio

Sites near Oxford

Beds Herts Bucks
Berkshire
Coventry
Gloucestershire
Northampton
Wiltshire

Related BBC Sites

England
 

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 

January 2004
Review: Tosca
The Carousel
Tosca


Puccini's
Tosca

The New Theatre

Sun 1 - Mon 2, February 2004

SEE IT FOR FREE: BE A REVIEWER

Be a reviewer

Click here for our reviewers' guide
SEE ALSO

Stage index

The New Theatre


PRINT THIS PAGE

View a printable version of this page.

 

By Sarah Vanstone

Set in Rome, 1800, the first impression I got of Tosca was of a world dominated by religion and tradition, where only saints or sinners exist, virgins or whores, villains or heroes. The Opera seems set in a bygone romantic age. The opening set is inside a church, with imposing religious images on the stone walls and tall gates. It struck me as boxed and uninspiring.

Being new to Opera, I wasn't sure what to make of it at first. Although the singing was strong, and the orchestra very impressive, I was distanced from all the action on stage, I didn't feel emotionally involved in what was going on. The characters were very intense, and everything was melodramatic, but it didn't touch me. After the first act I thought I had it sussed: a predictable love triangle with a villain and a heroic convict on the run.

But the second act proved more interesting. Set in the Farnese Palace, Tosca (played by Natalia Margarit) is blackmailed by Scarpia. She sings a beautiful solo piece while sitting on the floor in despair, while her lover is tortured in the next room. After this, the stylised and melodramatic opera style made more sense. The loud singing from the characters had an unexpected emotional power to it - I had only to listen.

By the third act, (set on the battlements of Castle Sant’Angelo) I am really enjoying things, and also sensing the suffering that each character going through, in a very human way. The tragic ending is a genuine surprise to me, not knowing the Opera, and the whole thing climaxes in a way that you cannot fail to be gripped by.

So, to everyone out there who is new to Opera, I think this is a good one to start with. It takes a while to get into, and may seem like double dutch at first, (the subtitles helped), but the emotional power gets pretty strong quite unexpectedly. Very satisfying.

line
Top | Stage Index | Home
Reviews Archive Stage
Stage review archive

Oxford venue guide

Listings page


The Weather Click for flicks Harry Potter fan site Contact Us
Write:
BBC Oxford,
269 Banbury Road,
Oxford,
OX2 7DW
E-mail:
oxford@bbc.co.uk
Phone:
08459 311 111



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy