Tosca ★★★★ London Coliseum | Sep 30 - Nov 4

One of the joys of seeing a work like Puccini's Tosca is experiencing a familiar and much loved classic well done. Sinéad Campbell-Wallace as Tosca and Adam Smith as Cavaradossi definitely deliver in this regard. They bring passion and conviction to their roles, and we particularly liked their duet in Act III. Roland Wood, who has assumed the role of Scarpia, is suitably chilling in his portrayal of the sadistic Chief of Police and manages to bring some depth to the often two-dimensional role. When it comes to a well known favourite like Tosca innovations that lead to new insights into the work are always welcome, but in this production some decisions are simply confusing. It is unclear why characters are variously costumed from different eras, and it simply becomes a distraction from the always enthralling tale. Similarly, some of the direction seems to muddle rather than enrich the story. The tableau at the end of Act I which celebrates the defeat of Napoleon seems rather heavy-handed, and Tosca and Scarpia disrobing in Act II is awkward, bordering on uncomfortable. One suspects that many of these issues arise from a drive to embellish a work that is fine as it is or to imbue it with more meaning than it requires. Despite such quibbles however, the ENO has mounted a Tosca that should delight all those who love this masterpiece. The glorious singing of Puccini's great score carries the day!

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Genevieve Girling.

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