[Met Performance] CID:252790

Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, March 29, 1978

Tosca (615)
Giacomo Puccini | Luigi Illica/Giuseppe Giacosa
Teresa Kubiak

José Carreras

Louis Quilico

Renato Capecchi

Nico Castel

Allan Monk

Russell Christopher

Robert Sapolsky

Philip Booth

James Conlon

Otto Schenk

Rudolf Heinrich

Stage Director
Bodo Igesz

Tosca received six performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Harriett Johnson in the Post

'Tosca' bow aided by Carreras

"Tosca," best or second best, is an exciting shocker and, while last night's first performance of the season at the Metropolitan Opera was far from thrilling, it had its compelling moments.

James Conlon was in the pit leading his first Met "Tosca" and the results revealed both his outstanding talent and inexperience. Puccini's music for richest fulfillment needs a conductor whose dramatic instinct is so strong and his way with the style so seemingly inbred that the music's surge sounds inevitable.

Conlon's approach to the orchestra was too careful, too detached, more as if he were conducting a symphony than a charged melodrama in which four people die within three hours on-stage by four means: stabbing, shooting, poison and jumping off a parapet. His interpretation of the Sardou drama lacked instrumental color and dramatic intensity. His support of the singers was a little heavy, cumbersome, not fluid enough. But he remains a young American of big gifts and he should be heard.

The biggest all round asset was tenor Jose Carreras as Cavaradossi and this in spite of his heavy performing schedule. Lean and handsome, a ringer for the passionate painter who is a liberal, fighting the establishment, Carreras used his beautiful voice with discretion as well as an abandon that seemed as natural as the freedom of his vocal production.

He is developing fast both as singer and actor. During Act II when the news arrives that Napoleon has defeated the tyrants, Cavaradossi, weak from being tortured, rises to acclaim the fact with "Victory! Victory!" The scene is tense and Carreras heightened the emotions by his acting.

At the beginning of Act III the backdrop behind the ramparts of Rome's Castel Sant' Angelo is supposed to be a star-studded sky, Carreras began his aria about the stars shining brightly with a curtain that had the foreboding of an impending black storm.

Symbolically that's right, of course. Anyway here both Carreras and Teresa Kubiak as Tosca were inspired to do their best singing. Their last poignant duet was a highlight and Miss Kubiak's voice scintillated as her highest notes sounded with ease and brilliance.

Her soprano had an appealing silvery quality but her uneven vocal production made it frequently diffuse instead of being focused forward and out. More than once she sounded unsteady. I have the feeling that she owns a much warmer, more expressive instrument than she presently demonstrates. If her last act is any indication, however, at her best, she is on the right road.

Despite the fact that Miss Kubiak ran around a lot when she was fending off Scarpia in Act II, she did play this scene well. She can act and she looked pretty and glamorous enough to be Floria Tosca, the opera singer.

Nico Castel in his first Met Spoletta, tall and aristocratic, lent distinction to this minor role as he does to everything he undertakes. Allan Monk was Angelotti; Renato Capecchl the Sacristan; both satisfactory.

The production by Otto Schenk, with sets and costumes by Rudolf Heinrich, is especially handsome for Act I. Its Met premiere was October 4, 1988, and it has worn well. Bodo Igesz was stage director. The chorus, prepared by David Stivender sang well

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