I have no isues with updating productions and adding unconventional interpretaions, but this is just too much. I am compelled to begin this review by commenting on the production, which replaced the excellent Zeferelli production. Yes, they needed a new Tosca; as did Covent Garden, but at what point did anyone think it was a good idea to reveal the portrait of Mary Magdelene with a massive breast hanging out? When it is revealed, why isn't the Sacristan outraged and even more to the point, why, when Tosca sees it for the first time does she not shout, 'what the hell are you doing painting that woman with her breast hanging out, in a church?' The laughter from the audience when she asks, 'who is that blonde woman?' and later, when she reminds Cavaradossi to recolour the eyes instead of - 'bloody well cover up those breast! - says it all. I mean, laughter in Tosca; to me that sums the whole piece up. I agree with another reviewer about the end of Act II, it is totally unelievable that after killing Scarpia, Tosca would recline back on a sofa, as if waiting for another glass of Spanish wine! The freeze frame at the end of Act 111 is just risible, as is Scarpia's behaviour in church at the climax of Act I. In a drama as compelling as Tosca, it just isn't good enough to create so many diversions, making the audience laugh and the viewer lose concentration and start nit-picking at the production.
I'm afraid that the cast cannot overcome all the issues with the production, although I do think some reviewers are very ungenerous towards Karita Mattila - I like her! Marcelo Alvarez sings very well, but his acting is a bit dodgy and Scarpia is OK - nothing special.
One other point, why do they include all those patronising interviews and behind the scenes sections in between Acts. This isn't the only one of the Met's DVDs that does this. I can understand that during the HD relays, they need something to fill in and link the Acts - but on the DVD it breaks the concentration and suspends my belief in what is happening on stage. Although I suppose it's not as bad as recent release from Decca of Werther, when Jonas Kaufmann winks at the camera before the curtain goes up. Surey all this would be better included as extras, to view if you want to.
Personally, if you are thinking of buying this, then I wouldn't bother, there are much better Toscas out there. If you really want to see it, then I would advise you to catch up with it on Sky Arts 2.