This production from Covent Garden, clearly demonstrates that good opera is still alive! Having suffered recently through a number of terrible performances world-wide, especially in the hands of some incredibly bad stage directors, this Tosca comes as a reassurance that one can still see a good performance these days.
Angela Georguiu, in spite of her years, can still deliver a full fire in the role of the jealous singer, who unwillingly betrays her lover. Her acting is good and generally her performance is better than most I have seen recently. She comes nowhere near matching Callas, but that is another story.
Jonas Kaufmann is a superb Cavaradossi. Brilliant vocally and at the same time, an excellent actor. On previous DVDs Placido Domingo is probably more convincing and as far as CDs go Giuseppe di Stefano is in a different league altogether.
Bryn Terfel is vocally a very good Scarpia, menacing and full of the right gestures. Visually, the un-shaven Bryn is not very convincing as the Baron. Again he is no match for Tito Gobbi.
Antonio Pappano is by no means an inspired conductor. Again listen to de Sabata, in the EMI CD with Callas, di Stefano and Gobbi, to see the difference. That performance is unfortunately only preserved in sound, no vision. The Callas – Gobbi performance from Covent Garden from 1964, does provide us with a glimpse of what a truly great performance was like, but the image and sound quality there leave a lot to be desired even for the mid 1960’s.
The image and sound quality of this blu-ray production of Tosca is really superb. Worth buying.