I went to tonight's performance of Tosca at the Royal Opera with trepidation. First we were told (a few weeks ago) Deborah Voigt pulled out due to illness and Angela Gheorghiu replaced her. Then Marcello Giordani got ill and was replaced by Massimo Giordano a few days ago. So, will Bryn Terfel put in an appearance tonight? Thank goodness there were no more cast changes. The orchestra played the opening chords with unusual umph. Massimo Giordano was a gallant Cavaradossi. Bryn Terfel was his usual fantastic self where a lot of care went into his portrayal of Scarpia - less on the voice and more on the drama. The real transformation was Angela Gheorghiu. When I saw her in the premiere of this production (design Paul Brown, director Jonathan Kent) a few years ago I thought her Tosca as an attention seeking school-girl which looked ridiculous across from the very deep and grown up Scarpia (Bryn Terfel). In tonight's performance she was full of fire with a greater breadth of emotions and tone, where a few of her top notes rang throughout the auditorium. My guess is the revival director Stephen Barlow made the school girl grow up. So tonight's Tosca turned out to be exceptional.
I was lucky to have gotten a ticket to see Bernard Haitink conduct the Vienna Philharmonic in Bruckner 7th Symphony. No doubt it is a work that Haitink knows well - he did it without score. The movements were broad, had shape, and above all nuanced rather than bombastic. His mildmannered gestures were in starck contract to Andris Nelsons's rendition of Bruckner 8 (earlier in the season). It was a real treat to see this maestro still deliveirng the musical umph at 90. A memorable concert that was.