Notes and Editorial Reviews
2 CD set plus bonus disc with libretto and synopsis.
This is the soundtrack to a motion picture version of Tosca to be released soon; as a CD version, it can stand handsomely and proudly on its own. Perhaps because it's part of a cinematic project it exudes an extra whiff of theatricality; but whatever the cause, this performance fairly leaps out of the speakers. The engineers have outdone themselves--the brass is huge and gleaming and instrumental detail throughout is excellent. Antonio Pappano leads a taut, exciting reading, one that--particularly in the second-act Tosca/Scarpia exchange--builds to wonderful, near-hysterical climaxes. The start of the last act is as lovely as you'll ever hear it, with a true evocation of
Angela Gheorghiu is a tremendous Tosca. She's as fiery as Callas can be and as caressing as Tebaldi at her best, but the reading is her own: she sings the final words of Act 2 with a unique sense of amazement, horror, and relief. And she never goes for the cheap vocal effect, refusing to wring emotion where there's no need to wring, thereby making the big, genuinely distraught moments all the more powerful. Roberto Alagna is slightly more generic, and he forces the voice at times (and loses quality in very soft singing). But this is carping: Alagna is a splendid Cavaradossi.
Ruggero Raimondi is at a point in his career where he must husband his resources (and it's somewhat doubtful that his bass voice was ever totally suitable for the baritone Scarpia), and while there are moments of true vocal distress, more often he manages to turn his vocal weaknesses into dramatic strengths. This is a Scarpia with no need to scream: his cruelty and authority are presumed. The rest of the cast is quite good, and the Covent Garden forces are at their very best. On balance, then, a dynamite performance--dramatically vivid if not vocally perfect, but highly recommended all the same.
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
reviewing the original release of this recording, EMI 57173 Read less
Works on This Recording
Tosca by Giacomo Puccini
Angela Gheorghiu (Soprano),
Roberto Alagna (Tenor),
Ruggero Raimondi (Bass),
Maurizio Muraro (Bass),
Enrico Fissore (Bass Baritone),
David Cangelosi (Tenor),
Sorin Coliban (Bass),
Gwynne Howell (Bass),
James Savage-Hanford (Boy Alto)
Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,
Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,
Tiffin School Boys Chorus
Written: 1900; Italy
Date of Recording: 08/2000
Venue: EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London
Length: 114 Minutes 12 Secs.
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