Friday, 22 March 2013

Written On Skin at the Royal Opera

It says "The Fifth Performance at the Royal Opera House". Didn't get to see it on the first night, but managed to enjoy Written on Skin nonetheless. And I do mean enjoy. Opera goers are often too stuck in their ways with the canonic works - Tosca, Carmen, Figaro, etc. So it's a real treat to see something new.



The set by Vicki Mortimer was great - there was lots of details portraying the 'period' of the story, while bringing the singers "in and out" of the period. Very well lit by Jon Clark. As for the music and libretto, it was most intriguing. It took me a while to gang the hang of the phrases being sung in first and third person terms. Somehow it got me listening harder, thinking harder, and being drawn into the drama. George Benjamin's music felt very much an integral part of the work, very well crafted, and approachable too. I think it made a real difference with him conducting his own work too.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Tosca at the Royal Opera

Yes, it's all about Tosca. So it was good to have Amanda Echalaz as Floria Tosca in this recent Royal Opera revival - a strong voice, wide range of vocal colours with fairly good acting. Massimo Giordano took a long time to warm up to the role of Cavaradossi - and the opening sequence in Sant'Andrea della Valle looked a bit haphazard (not enough rehearsal time?) Michael Volle was an adeqaute Scarpia - the voice was fine but I didn't really get enough evil from him.

Puccini's music was still gripping after all these years, and the afternoon (yes, 1pm start on a Saturday) turned out to be fine.