See my review of Washington National Opera's production of Tosca:
Puccini’s “Tosca” at the Kennedy Center (The Washingtonian, September 12):
Puccini’s Tosca really is, as Joseph Kerman once quipped, a “shabby little shocker.” That is, without really fine, powerful singing from the three principals, the work has little else to recommend it. One ends up, in fact, as in Saturday night’s opening night of Washington National Opera’s new (old) staging of the opera, with a mediocrity. It was telling that the most dramatic moment of the evening, other than the grand panorama of the Te Deum scene in Act One, had nothing to do with singing. It was the headlong abandon with which Patricia Racette, in the title role, hurled herself from the parapet of the Castel Sant’Angelo at the opera’s melodramatic conclusion.
Puccini, Tosca, B. Nilsson, F. Corelli, D. Fischer-Dieskau, Accademia di Santa Cecilia, L. Maazel
Little matter that, according to one reliable source, such a suicide is unlikely, given the structure of the building. One expected Racette’s closing gesture as Tosca, the actress who loves too strongly, to have been dramatic. This is the American soprano’s principal strength, as seen in her recent outings in Washington as the title role in Jenůfa, Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes, and last year’s Iphigénie. Racette’s voice can be beautiful in softer, more diaphanous passages, but when she hurls sound approximately at high notes, as Tosca is so often required to do, the effect can be acidic and often was. As always, Racette was the most gripping dramatic presence on stage, but one wished for more beauty in iconic moments like Tosca’s most famous aria, “Vissi d’arte.” [Continue reading]
Anne Midgette, Serviceable ‘Tosca’ signals business as usual at Washington National Opera (Washington Post, September 12)
Terry Ponick, Enthralling ‘Tosca’ (Washington Times, September 12)