Don't suppose I can fairly say I was watching so much as skimming a 1990 Tosca. Australia, Marton, blah blah cast you've never heard of. Marton we watch for acting, mostly, but you wouldn't know it here, which is why I skimmed. Maybe she was hemmed in by the deeply traditional production? I caught a few nice touches, and there may have been more, but on the whole it was a passel of train flinging and conventional hand gestures. Or worse yet, that thing singers do when they don't know what to do with their hands. Cute when he reaches for the divan as he's falling dead and she pries his hand off, yes.
I'm put in mind of two things, or maybe more. One is an Elektra I can remember no details of, also on video, in which Marton is indeed intense. She cries, in fact. You can see the tears. I'd like to find it some day. The other is the now sort of shopworn NYCO Tosca that I watched grow up. I notice, watching this one, that I can remember nothing about the stage business in that Tosca except for a few touches that were so tasteless they vanished before it got to City Opera. Did she do the whole soft shoe with the crucifix and candles? It wouldn't seem in character with the production overall, but I can't remember. Actually what I remember now other than the first time the Cavaradossi (Ian DeNolfo, think he's disappeared) sang the "Vittoria!" in a high school gym and almost killed us all, but a happy death, was the Tosca (Amy Johnson, also m.i.a.) who said "Everyone thinks my voice is too small for this," with a lot of disdain for people who would say it. She sang things like Tosca and Salome in places like Memphis for a few years and then, perhaps, it turned out they were right.
Suddenly I'm looking forward to the Voigt Tosca, not just because I like DV so much, but because after Tosca kind of stalked me for a few years, popping up in opera houses wherever I lived, I have avoided it long enough I like it again.
Now why are the gods punishing me by putting Villa, who I like, in the production with Millo, at whom I roll my eyes, and Voigt with Giordani who I mean I don't hate or anything...
p.s. I think, having mulled over the Sills and Sayao Manon pieces parts I listened to during the day, that I was too easy on Fleming. I think it was just not a good Manon. "Bye bye Mr. Table" should leave one limp.
Oh and another thing. I suddenly find myself thinking up the silliest haute-regie ideas for operas I think have become calcified crap, just crazy stuff. Maybe I should round up some other singers as dreadful as I am and a pianist and start some kind of Brooklyn indie opera collective. Yeah...no of course I'm not serious.