Reviewed by Rosemary Knight
Yesterday evening I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit The Lowry theatre in Salford Quays, Manchester to watch Puccini’s Tosca. This new production is directed by Edward Dick and stars Giselle Allen, Rafael Rojas and Robert Hayward as it’s three central characters, Tosca, Cavaradossi and Scarpia.
I was lucky to grow up in a household where we enjoyed all kinds of music from classical to pop, so I grew up loving opera, especially the wonderful drama of Puccini and take every opportunity to watch live performances whenever I can.
In this stunning production, Tosca has been updated from Rome in the 1800’s to the present day. Beautiful, passionate Floria Tosca is in love with artist Mario Cavaradossi, who aids an escaped political prisoner, Angelotti played by John Savournin, to hide from Scarpia, the chief of police. Scarpia discovers this and imprisons and tortures Cavaradossi, telling Tosca that she can save her lover if she agrees to tell him the whereabouts of Angelotti. Tosca initially refuses, but after witnessing the torture and abuse of her loved one, she gives in and tells Scarpia where Angelotti is hiding. Scarpia tricks Tosca into believing that she can save her lover’s life by giving in to Scarpia’s advances. Tosca is repulsed and stabs Scarpia in the heart, killing him. The final dramatic scene shows the death of both Cavaradossi and Tosca.
Opera North’s sensational opera is sung in Italian with screens showing the English translation so members of the audience who are not familiar with the story will have no problem in following the plot. Giselle Allen’s performance of Vissi d’arte is superb and deservedly received a huge ovation from the audience.
This is an amazing performance with a stunning set, wonderful cast and of course Puccini’s fantastic music. The performance lasts for approximately two and a half hours with two intervals. I loved every minute of this production.
Tickets cost from £12 to £60 (booking fees may apply).
Opera North’s Tosca is at The Lowry in Manchester from 14-16 November 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000