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Robert Carsen’s production of Tosca for Zurich has one good idea and then gets rather stuck within its own self-imposed parameters. ‘Tosca as diva’ is the be-all and end-all: the action takes place onstage, with another proscenium at the back of the set, so everything the heroine does is obviously performed, right through to her final bow. That’s fine until the drama becomes real or intimate, at which point there’s the basic question of what is fantasy and what’s not. Perhaps that’s the point, but it seems a concept that is ultimately constricting. Paolo Carignani’s often ponderous conducting doesn’t add much to the proceedings, and Thomas Hampson’s Scarpia is coolly brutal; alas, his very impassivity means that he fails to make much impact. It’s left to Emily Magee’s Tosca and Jonas Kaufmann’s Cavaradossi, both vivid of voice and presence, to breathe some much needed life into the performance.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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