14 March – Bournemouth Pavilion
Review by Janine Pulford
Directed by award-winning opera producer Ellen Kent, Puccini’s ‘Tosca’ was brought to the stage in Bournemouth and what a treat it was.
Faultlessly performed, it also offered jaw-dropping backdrops and opulent costumes. These combined with the wonderful voices of Maria Tonina as Tosca, Sorin Lupu as the artist Mario and Vladimir Dragos as Baron Scarpia amongst others, melted into the beautiful music by the Moldovan National Philharmonic Orchestra to leave a lasting impression.
I had to rely on surtitles, but even these didn’t detract from the emotion that the international singers brought to the stage.
Set in Rome, the story is about Tosca, an opera diva fiercely jealous of her lover Mario. When he is arrested and tortured for shielding an escaped prisoner, she discovers that the lustful Baron Scarpia’s methods of tricking her into plea bargaining are all for his own gain. The treachery results in a murderous and tragic ending.
Maria’s singing and her performance was outstanding and even brought tears to my eyes at one point, it was so packed with emotion.
As well as internationally renowned performers, the production brought local children to the stage and one young shepherd boy sang a beautiful solo.
My only crit was that the third scene had a very slow beginning, which seemed to drag. Otherwise a splendid and much loved evening out. Excellent entertainment.