* Notes *
Last Saturday San Diego Opera opened with a revival of Tosca. The production is distinctly Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's, and he originally designed it for San Francisco Opera in 1972. Everything looked utterly traditional and as one would expect, as Suzanne Mess' costumes were in keeping with the sets.
The singing was strong. Sylvie Valayre was lovely as La Tosca, her voice as a surprising warmth to it. Her "Vissi d'arte" was fine, though strangely metallic near the end. Ms. Valayre's acting, though, left something to be desired, particularly when she overzealously stabbed Scarpia. Greer Grimsley certainly was able to project unctuousness as the villain. He sang the role of Scarpia with more verve than some of his Wagnerian roles and his volume was good. Marcus Haddock was most impressive vocally, his "Vittoria!" in Act II was riveting, as was his "E lucevan le stelle."
For the most part, the orchestra was unobtrusive under Edoardo Müller. The horns sounded ragged in the overture, and there were a few times when the orchestra and singers were slightly off in Act I.
* Tattling *
Ian Campbell addressed the opening night crowd with mention of the economy, the reduced 2010 season, and a pledge of commitment to artistic excellence.
There were no electronic sounds from the audience, nary a watch alarm nor a mobile phone. However, there was quite a lot of talking at times, and applause for the third set.