What the critics thought: Ninth revival of Tosca is still a hit!

First performed in 1980, director Anthony Besch and designer Peter Rice’s production of Tosca completed its ninth revival at Scottish Opera, making it the Company’s longest running and most-revived production. Jonathon Cocker directed the revival, with lighting from Robert B Dickson. Stuart Stratford conducted The Orchestra of Scottish Opera and Natalya Romaniw sang the title role. She was joined by Roland Wood, Gwyn Hughes Jones, Dingle Yandell, Paul Carey Jones, Aled Hall and Lancelot Nomura. The production was lauded by both critics and audiences, selling out the final performances in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Natalya Romaniw was highly praised for her mainstage Tosca debut, which Simon Thompson from The Times called ‘an impressive role debut that will only get better.’ In The Herald, Keith Bruce wrote that ‘her performance is absolutely captivating every moment she is on the stage. Vocally she is quite masterly…’ and in his five-star review for Bachtrack, David Smythe observed: ‘The opera world has been waiting for Natalya Romaniw’s first Tosca, and this was a genuinely thrilling performance.’

Further recognition came for the whole cast, with The Guardian’s Rowena Smith praising Gwyn Hughes Jones’ ‘impassioned and noble’ Cavaradossi, whose vocals Ken Walton called ‘exhilarating’ in The Scotsman. Walton also applauded Roland Wood for his ‘brutally unfeeling, hideously misogynistic, terrifying’ Scarpia, writing that ‘Knifing by Tosca is too kind.’ David Smythe observed the ‘finely sung Sacristan’, ‘lyrically sung Angelotti’ and ‘menacing Spoletta’ from Paul Carey Jones, Dingle Yandell and Aled Hall. Simon Thompson also observed: ‘the smaller characters are all excellent.’

The Orchestra of Scottish Opera were applauded in Seen and Heard International, with Gregor Tassie noting: ‘The orchestra were on their best form’ and Rowena Smith praised a ‘lithe, responsive reading of Puccini’s score.’ Opera Guide Scotland’s William Parker commented: ‘Stuart Stratford is impressive in the pit as always and commands a powerful orchestral instrument.’

In the Herald on Sunday, Mark Brown called the production’s setting in 1940s fascist Italy ‘a masterstroke’, while The List’s Carol Main praised ‘The unforgettable opening set’ and Keith Bruce noted that ‘Act One in particular is a glorious spectacle’. In The Scotsman, Ken Walton admired the ‘sumptuous and scrupulous realism’ of Peter Rice’s design and the ‘sweeping, stylised, powerfully choreographed’ dramaturgy. In The Wee Review, Max Scratchmann concluded: ‘this production certainly delivers an exhilarating night at the – albeit grand – opera.’

★★★★★ – Edinburgh Festival
★★★★★- The List
★★★★★ – Bachtrack
★★★★★ – Opera Guide Scotland
★★★★★ – Scotsgay Arts
★★★★★ – Southside Advertiser
★★★★ – The Guardian
★★★★ – The Scotsman
★★★★ – The Times
★★★★ – The Herald
★★★★ – Herald on Sunday
★★★★ – Scottish Daily Mail
★★★★ – The Stage
★★★★ – The Daily Record
★★★★ – The Wee Review
★★★★ – Young Perspective
★★★★ – Corr Blimey