The Metropolitan Opera – David McVicar’s production of Puccini’s Tosca – Alexsandra Kurzak, Michael Fabiano, Luca Salsi; conducted by Carlo Rizzi

Tosca – Melodramma in three Acts to a libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa & Luigi Illica based on the play La Tosca by Victorien Sardou [sung in Italian, with Met surtitles in English, German, Spanish and Italian]

Floria Tosca – Alexsandra Kurzak
Mario Cavaradossi – Michael Fabiano
Baron Scarpia – Luca Salsi
Cesare Angelotti – Kevin Short
Sacristan – Patrick Carfizzi
Spoletta – Rodell Rosel
Sciarrone – Christopher Job
A Shepherd Boy – Davida Dayle
Jailer – Paul Corona

The Metropolitan Opera Chorus
The Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera
Carlo Rizzi

David McVicar – Production
John Macfarlane – Set & Costume Designer
David Finn – Lighting Designer
Movement Director – Leah Hausman
Revival Stage Director – Gina Lapinski

Reviewed by: Susan Stempleski

Reviewed: 4 October, 2022
Venue: Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, New York City

Puccini’s Tosca is back at the Met for the third revival of Sir David McVicar’s 2017 grand and opulent production, with Aleksandra Kurzak as the diva and Michael Fabiano as her artist lover, Cavaradossi. Luca Salsi is the blood-thirsty Chief of Police, Scarpia, replacing John Lundgren who withdrew due to illness. Patrick Carfizzi joins them as the Sacristan, a role he has regularly embodied at the Met since 2018.

John Mcfarlane’s lush set designs – recreating the story’s early-nineteenth-century Roman locales and pitched at a slight angle – still look gorgeous, as do his elegant costumes. David Finn’s exquisite lighting accents the painterly atmosphere and Gina Lapinski’s stage direction works extremely well. 

Kurzak, returning to the Met in the role she took on last spring, is a beguiling Floria Tosca – delightfully playful and flirtatious with Cavaradossi in Act One, desperate and vulnerable with the sadistic Scarpia in Act Two, glamorous and captivating throughout. Her singing is most impressive in her sumptuously sung and uncommonly moving ‘Vissi d’arte’, the showcase aria in which she sings of the two driving forces in her life, love and music. Her inherently lyric soprano is not a blazing instrument, but it has an abundance of vocal beauty and grace, and with Carlo Rizzi at his most alert and accommodating, balance is never an issue.

With his trim stage figure, ample-voiced tenor, and a wavy, chestnut colored wig, Michael Fabiano makes a dashing Mario Cavaradossi, the painter and revolutionary in love with Tosca. His Act One entrance aria, ‘Recondita armonia’, in which he sings of the differences between the fair-haired Madonna in his painting and the dark beauty of his beloved, is wonderfully joyful. His second Act cry of ‘Vittoria, vittoria’, which he sings without pushing the sound or holding it overly long, is one of the most thrilling moments, and his third Act ‘E lucevan le stelle’, in which he sings of his love for Tosca and for life, is heart-wrenching.

Luca Salsi is a debonair, lascivious Scarpia.  With his gorgeously dark toned baritone masterfully managing the music and endowing each phrase with precision and significance, he completely inhabits the ruthless character and is an engrossing presence.

Patrick Carfizzi lends some levity as a lively and good-natured Sacristan. As the escaped political prisoner Angelotti, Kevin Short’s compelling bass is very effective in inciting Cavaradossi towards action. Rodell Rosel aptly weasels his way through the role of Spoletta, one of Scarpia’s henchmen, and Davida Dayle is an exceptionally sweet-voiced Shepherd Boy. The Met Chorus is at its finest in the ‘Te Deum’ of the first Act.

Rizzi elicits an energetic, colorfully detailed and richly textured reading of Puccini’s electrifying score, judiciously paced and highly powerful. The solo clarinet that introduces ‘E lucevan le stelle’ is especially beautiful.

This is a splendid revival and a momentous moment for the Met’s Tosca, which will reach its one-thousandth performance during this autumn run.

Further performances with this cast on October 8 (matinee), 11, 15, 19, 24 & 27

Performances on October 31, November 4, March 30, April 2 (matinee), 5, 8 (matinee), 12 & 15 with different artistsThe April 8 performance will be broadcast live beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Time via the Toll Brothers–Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network

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