* Notes *
Last night's opening of Tosca at San Francisco Opera was rather more exciting than expected, given that the 1997 production has been revived three times before. As Tosca, Angela Gheorghiu sang Act I a bit quietly, and was often not with the orchestra. Before Act II, General Director David Gockley announced that Gheorghiu had a bout of intestinal distress and nausea at intermission and was going to the hospital. The cover, Melody Moore (pictured above in Act II, photograph by Kristen Loken), was getting into costume, and Gockley begged our indulgence. All things considered, Moore did an excellent job. Her voice sounds icier in this role than others, which is not inappropriate. Her lower register has a lovely vibrancy, in stark contrast to Gheorghiu.
As for the rest of the cast, Massimo Giordano (Cavaradossi) has warm plaintiveness, but did not always sound secure. His portrayal did not have much nuance, but he certainly did project well. Roberto Frontali sang a threatening Scarpia with grit and power. Christian van Horn sounded robust as Angelotti and Dale Travis delivered a comic Sacristan. Joel Sorensen was completely committed to his role of Spoletta, and the spill he took trying to catch up with Moore at the end looked very realistic.
Maestro Luisotti had the orchestra sounding strong, and there was never a lax moment. The clarinet solo that introduces "E lucevan le stelle" was particularly beautiful. The strings also sounded lovely.
* Tattling *
Cellular phone alarm went off twice during Act I, once toward the end of the duet between Tosca and Cavaradossi and once near the end of the act. A latecomer brusquely yelled "excuse me" into my ear and pushed herself between me and another standee, right at the end of Act I, just before the alarm went off. Her arm was touching mine, so I gently rested against her. I figured she wanted so very much to be near someone else, I might as well oblige her.
According to a statement issued by San Francisco Opera today, Gheorghiu was feeling ill during Act I. Tests at the hospital revealed that she was severely dehydrated. Gheorghiu is now resting up and feeling better. She expects to perform on Sunday, November 18, as scheduled.