Most helpful positive review
84 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on 12 March 2004
This DVD is now available in UK without regional coding and is PAL compatible. I bought this DVD for Act 2 of Tosca and I was totally bowled over by the intensity of the performance. Both Callas and Gobbi are superb and the interplay between the two is almost telepathic. Not only are two marvellous singers at work but they show themselves to be first rate actors too. Scarpia is a sexual predator, corrupt, vicious, duplicitous but Gobbi makes him much more than just a masochistic pantomine villain - the character appalls you but he is strangely likeable too - very odd and disturbing! As the camera usually lingers on the faces of the singers, you get the full force of Gobbi's characterisation - he has the most expressive eyebrows of any opera singer I have seen! Callas shows the despair of Tosca as she slowly realises how evil Scarpia is. The look of shock on her face as she eventually realises the nature of the deal Scarpia is offering her is electrifying. Vissi d'arte is magical and all the more effective by not being followed by clamourous applause. Also very effective is the scene after Tosca has dispatched Scarpia - no singing just pure acting. A special mention for the staging and lighting which add to the overall impact. Cavaradossi is perfectly adequate but has little to do in this act. Also on the disc is a Callas gala performance - the highlights here are the selections from Carmen. Picture and sound quality are both good considering the recordings were originally made for TV in the early 60s and subtitles are included if you need them.