Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tosca: betrayal, murder and ...mattresses?

Examine this picture carefully to guess where in San Diego this photo was taken*! 
...from San Diego

This coming weekend is the start of San Diego Opera's 2016 mainstage season, which I would have loved to see, both to see what they are doing and also to support the company.  After the brouhaha of 2014, all in the operatic community want very much to see the company succeed.

Alas, the calendar didn't work for me.  But for those in San Diego or Southern California and able to attend (Feb. 13, 16, 19, 21), SDO will perform Puccini's Tosca--a verismo opera par excellence that Joseph Kerman with great although unjust rhetorical flourish once dismissed as a "shabby little shocker."*  (A shocker, yes, but shabby?  One could certainly debate that point.)

San Diego Opera presents Tosca in Feb. 2016

Shabby or not, it's a cinematic opera in the best melodrama tradition, with betrayal, murder, torture, intrigue, and more, as well as a good many mishaps. Some may be apocryphal; others undoubtedly are real.  For example, did one unlucky Tosca really jump off a stage parapet onto the protective mattress (normally placed backstage below said parapet), only to bounce back into view of the audience again and again, geboing geboing geboing? One writer says not, but relates other mishaps, including misplaced mattresses and guns that fired more than blanks.  Read about other, mostly less dangerous mishaps here.

SDO moves on to another Puccini favorite--an opera about a different kind of betrayal--with Madama Butterfly in April (13, 16, 21, 24), followed by the West Coast premiere of Great Scott (May 7,10, 13, 15) by California's own Jake Heggie, with beloved mezzo-soprano Frederica Von Stade.

Fingers crossed for a mishap-free Tosca run and the best of luck to SDO for their February Tosca and a successful 2016 spring season! (And the perpetually delayed blog about the story of La Traviata?  Not forgotten, but still delayed.)

What I'm reading: More Deborah Crombie, Megan Chance's The Veil (finale of 3)
What I'm listening to: La Boheme, Carmen and Handel
What I'm working on: Handel, Caldara, and Winterberg for April-May concerts

*Comment or email me if you have a guess as to where in the San Diego area this picture was taken! **from Kerman's Opera as Drama.  
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