Puccini: Tosca [Highlights]

Puccini: Tosca [Highlights]

by James Levine



This disc of highlights from EMI's 1980 recording of "Tosca" has many strengths, not the least of which is the brilliant and incisive conducting of James Levine. He leads the Philharmonia Orchestra in a stellar performance that allows details of orchestration to emerge with great clarity. His emphasis on the score's many dramatic contrasts and mercurial moods highlights the opera's character as a psychological thriller, and his rhythmic suppleness gives it a surging romantic power. Plácido Domingo is a refined but passionate Cavaradossi. He was at the height of his powers when the recording was made, and his top is thrillingly ringing. Renato Bruson's Scarpia is strong, but his voice lacks the unctuous darkness that makes for a truly frightening portrayal of evil. As Tosca, Renata Scotto was past her prime when the recording was made, and she is occasionally betrayed by a wobble. A somewhat older Tosca, however, is a reasonable dramatic conceit, and the fact that her character is so often enraged makes Scotto's lack of absolute control in the more fiery passages forgivable. In "Vissi d'arte," her moment of relatively quiet reflection, Scotto is highly effective; she fully exploits her gifts in portraying a sympathetic victim that made her 1966 "Madama Butterfly" so extraordinary. A listener's response to Scotto's Tosca will probably hinge on the acceptance of her occasional lack of vocal control as an expression of her temperament and her emotional distress. The smaller roles are vividly characterized by singers with consistently strong voices; in particular, Andrea Velis' Spoletta is deliciously unpleasant. This might not be the first choice for the listener looking for only one disc of highlights from the opera, since Bruson's Scarpia doesn't fully exploit the character's malevolence and Scotto's Tosca is not always lyrically sumptuous, but Domingo's performance, the fine supporting cast, and Levine's illuminating reading make this a version that should be of interest to Puccini enthusiasts.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/24/2000
Label: Warner Classics
UPC: 0724357413121
catalogNumber: 74131


  1. Tosca, opera: Ah! Finalmente!
  2. Tosca, opera: Dammi i colori!
  3. Tosca, opera: Mario! Mario! Mario!
  4. Tosca, opera: Ah, quegli occhi!
  5. Tosca, opera: Tre sbirri, una carrozza
  6. Tosca, opera: Orsù, Tosca, parlate
  7. Tosca, opera: Floria!...Amore
  8. Tosca, opera: Vittoria! Vittoria
  9. Tosca, opera: Se la giurata fede
  10. Tosca, opera: Vissi d'arte
  11. Tosca, opera: Vedi, la man giunte io stendo a te!
  12. Tosca, opera: E qual via scegliete?
  13. Tosca, opera: lo de' sospiri
  14. Tosca, opera: E lucevan le stelle
  15. Tosca, opera: Franchigia a Floria Tosca
  16. Tosca, opera: O dolce mani
  17. Tosca, opera: E non giugono
  18. Tosca, opera: Com'é lunga l'attesa!
  19. Tosca, opera: Presto, su! Mario!

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