Why tamper with success?
The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
04/30/2017 - & May 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 2017
Giacomo Puccini: Tosca
Adrianne Pieczonka*/Keri Alkema (Tosca), Marcelo Puente*/Kamen Chanev (Cavaradossi), Markus Marquardt*/Craig Colclogh (Scarpia), Musa Ngqungwana (Cesare Angelotti), Donato di Stefano (A Sacristan), Joel Sorensen (Spoletta), Giles Tomkins (Sciarrone), Bruno Roy (A Jailer), Clara Moir*/Isobel Arseneau (A Shepherd Boy)
The Canadian Opera Company Chorus plus the Canadian Children’s Opera Company, Sandra Horst (chorus master), The Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, Keri-Lynn Wilson (conductor)
Paul Curran (director), Kevinn Knight (set and costume designer), David Martin Jacques (lighting designer)
M. Puente & A. Pieczonka (© Michael Cooper)
This is the third reprise of this marvelously adept production of the unstoppable warhorse (premiered in 2008, last seen in 2012).
Marcelo Puente is a fine discovery as he strides manfully on stage and performs the role of Cavaradossi with a glowing Italianate tone and soaring lines. (His presence is much like that of his fellow Argentinian, José Cura.)
Adrianne Pieczonka, who also sang the role here in 2012, is greeted with a smattering of welcoming applause, a rather nice old-fashioned gesture. Tosca is passion’s plaything (as ever) but she also brings an element of grandeur to the role.
The third lead is of course Scarpia; German baritone Markus Marquardt brings gruff menace to the role. Such a villain! One great moment is when he has his boot on the craven bully Spoletta’s neck. Moments like this are so satisfying. Joel Sorensen makes a vivid impression as Spoletta, by the way, as do Musa Ngqungwana as Angelotti and Donato de Stefano as the Sacristan. Choruses and orchestra are up to their usual fine standard.
Usually a repeated repertoire item is handed over to an assistant or replacement director. It is a bit of a surprise that Paul Curran plus his designers (Kevin Knight for sets and costumes, David Martin Jacques for lighting) were on hand opening night. This might account for the fact that everything seemed as fresh and new as an often-performed work can be. Let’s not overlook the COC’s procedure of recreating every production with careful preparation, whether brand new or tried and true. Making her COC debut, Winnipeg-born conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson has obviously made the best of this policy as well, resulting in musical direction that recreates Puccini’s grand structure with nice attention to detail.
The lead cast reviewed here has seven of the 12 performances, with Keri Alkema, Kamen Chanev, and Craig Colclough performing May 7, 11, 14, 18, and 20.