11 January 2011

Ringing Tosca

Puccini TOSCA, 10.01.11; c. Armiliato; Radvanovsky, Alagna, Struckmann.

The throbbing, relentlessly lachrymose and sonically gifted soprano of Sondra Radvanovsky enters a new dimension. She probably vaporized many in-house recordings and shattered hidden microphones tonight, with the sheer gigabigness of her top notes and that characteristic, mechanical vibrato. But the good news is that she's finally using some chest tones! Not a lot, not as big, and not consistently, but they were there when it mattered. One quibble: too much ad-libbed sobbing and screaming and screeching. But a sonically thrilling performance nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Roberto Alagna needs to download some porn and relieve himself before going out on stage, because he needs to stop molesting his co-stars. More than once, he interrupted Sondra's lines with creepy mouth-to-mouths. And then, there was actual missionary-style mounting of Sondra. It was a bit disturbing. And yes, Alagna's voice sounds like it's been put through the shredder a few times, but we still love him. The fear, shared by everyone in the house, was palpable every time he launched a sustained top note. The other guy, Falk Struckmann, did his best imitation of George Gagnidze's Scarpia.

And lastly, enough of the Luc Bondy; bring back the Zeffirelli, please.