by Paula Citron.
Canadian Opera Company
Composed by Giacomo Puccini
Conducted by Richard Buckley
Directed by Paul Curran
Starring Eszter Sümegi, Mikhail Agafonov and Alan Opie
At the Four Seasons Centre until Feb. 23
The COC’s new production of Puccini’s Tosca is musically sound but production shaky.
Baritone Alan Opie is a superb Scarpia, a singing actor of great intelligence. Soprano Eszter Sümegi has the big voice for Tosca, despite a tendency towards Eastern bloc shrillness. Tenor Mikhail Agafonov as Cavaradossi can hit the high notes but shows erratic pitch. Canadian bass Robert Pomakov as the Sacristan just keeps getting richer in both voice and acting skills. Conductor Richard Buckley finds all the passion in Puccini’s score.
Unfortunately, director Paul Curran has come up with over-busy staging, while Kevin Knight’s set, while grand, also has some inexplicable moving pieces. His costumes are lovely, however.
As a side note, listeners have expressed concern over audience members booing the villain. For an opera singer, a boo is very serious. The COC should tell all future villains that a boo in Toronto probably means a good thing.
Tosca continues at the Four Seasons Centre until Feb. 23.