Friday, May 17, 2013

Tosca at The Tobacco Factory

Opera at The Tobacco Factory in Bedminster, Bristol last night. Here's the description from the website:

Following their fresh and wildly successful production of La Boh̬me here in July 2012, Olivier award-winning OperaUpClose returns to the Factory Theatre with another Puccini masterpiece РTosca.

In a new English version by Adam Spreadbury-Maher, with a new orchestration by Danyal Dhondy and design by Nina Fransson, we are transported to 1989 East Germany. Tosca is sensual, powerful and vulnerable. Living in the shadow of the Berlin Wall, she is the toast of the GDR elite, until her lover Cavaradossi helps a political prisoner to escape, putting Tosca at the mercy of Stasi chief Scarpia.

Puccini’s tautest drama is given a radical yet affectionate re-working, set in the dying days of the East German regime and stripping the story to its most essential elements. A cast of just five singers and a trio of piano, clarinet and cello brings OperaUpClose’s trademark intimacy and immediacy to this tale of love, lust and the corrupting influence of power while retaining all of the emotional impact of the original.

Floria Tosca - star of the show

The setting at the Tobacco Factory is small and intimate and the theatre was packed. It's utterly astonishing how much power the operatic voice can generate:  like being in a hangar with a 747, engines at full throttle. More melodious, obviously.