Praise For Tosca

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I am amazed that I have never read a review or any commentary anywhere on the performance of "TOSCA" at Gunnersbury Park on July 18th. Every other event connected with the festival was reported, but not this.

Someone should have pointed out that this performance was a total sell-out on a hot night, and that the audience comprised all age groups from all backgrounds.

The production succeeded despite such limitations as a single piano accompaniment plus assorted percussion replacing the lush orchestrations of Puccini. This worked better after the plot exposition of Act One. After this the sheer drama and musicality carried it along. The singers included some upcoming stars who managed to turn the big tent to advantage, aided by a successful resetting of the plot in fascist Italy, with the drama of bloodshed and violence.

The audience gave it a standing ovation! Many had never been to an opera before. Some people were telling the management it was the best thing they'd ever seen, and had never expected to enjoy quite so much. We noticed children and many young people among these enthusiastic crowds. As an opera buff commented, it is amazing how little one needs to succeed with a good cast. The limitations are there to broken.

The organisers and council should be given credit for booking this event. It is a pity it was so disregarded by the press.

Oliver Bayldon

16 August 2010

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