This year marks our 16th annual operatic production with Opera a la Carte who will be returning to the Ballroom at Walcot Hall with their wonderful production of Puccini’s Tosca on 7th and 8th of June.
Tosca is as much a thriller as a tragedy. Opera a la Carte will present the story in a ‘film noir’ style, making the most of the rich mix of politics, religion, torture, blackmail, attempted rape, murder, execution and suicide. Who could want more for an evening’s entertainment?”
There are more thrills and spills in a terrific, tiny- budget “Tosca” from Opera a la Carte, which is now touring. Director Nicholas Heath updates the action to the late 1940s and, with awe-inspiring economy, invests the action with a highly effective film-noir sensibility. If just a couple of moments lack punch, the overall energy doesn’t flag.
Cheryl Enever reprises the femme fatale look of Joan Crawford in “Mildred Pierce” beautifully, and sings a fine Tosca. Charne Rochford (Cavaradossi) and Paul Keohone (Scarpia) are uniformly good too.
The accompaniment, arranged for piano, organ and percussion, provides a surprising amount of beefiness. Even the climax to Act 1, which usually requires a massed chorus, works beautifully with just a handful of singers and the organ and bells at full blast.
It was a mad risk to stage “Tosca” as a chamber-sized piece. Heath’s lusty production shows that the greater the risk, the greater the rewards.”
Warwick Thompson is a critic for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News