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ENO Tosca


CCL
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I will be going to see this production on the 19th October. I’d be really interested to hear from anyone who has seen it or is planning to see it or anyone who sees ENO regularly. I’m not sure how I feel about hearing ‘Tosca’ sung in English but the tickets were very reasonably priced and I’m interested in seeing Sinead Campbell Wallace.

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I am half Italian and grew up with an opera-loving Italian father.  I'm afraid I just can't listen to Italian operas in English (with very few exceptions, such as Jonathan Miller's Rigoletto way back in the day), so I can't help you.  I did see a version of Boheme that they did outside (it was on tele a few months ago) at Alexandra Palace and it was good, what I saw of it. Come to think of it, I don't like hearing any opera translated into English; even though I don't speak Russian or German I want to hear Boris Godunov in Russian, and I want to hear The Magic Flute in German.  The words and the notes were written for each other, and that's what I like to hear.  On the other hand, you often can't understand the words anyway, in whatever language, so maybe it doesn't really matter!

 

I hope you enjoy it, CCL, and do let us know what you think!  

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On the whole I’m with you on this Sim - particularly regarding Italian operas - but I’m curious enough regarding this production that I’m willing to be converted! Yes, I will feed back afterwards, definitely!

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I saw ENO do Tosca about a decade ago, in their previous production, and I didn't think it worked terribly well being sung in English. The audience were laughing at some lines & Tosca is really not supposed to be an amusing opera! As a very broad generalisation I'd say that I find comic operas sung in English translation can work well but tragic/serious operas not so much.

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My view is that English translations of Italian operas in particular are hamstrung by echoes of Gilbert and Sullivan. ENO translations are also a very mixed bag.

 

While I'd probably always prefer an opera to be in the original language, unless (like Sim!) you're a native speaker I don't really understand why this is an automatic "no" for some people. If everything else about a production is excellent, surely it's better than a bad production or poor cast in the native language - yet some rule ENO out solely on language grounds. (Though ENO is of course quite capable of adding bad productions and poor casts into the mix!)

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  • 2 weeks later...

 I greatly enjoyed the performance on Wednesday night -  I thought the singing was utterly thrilling, and the staging beautifully done - the church in Act 1 and the freeze frame execution scene in particular - and the poignant blackout as Tosca ran to her death. Sinead Campbell Wallace was a wonderful Tosca: fiery and courageous, full of charisma. Adam Smith was a heroic and passionate Cavaradossi; Roland Wood a compelling and genuinely menacing Scarpia. I would recommend seeing it - I am so glad that I went!

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