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Press Reviews

 

 

‘[Director Jonathan] Cocker’s revival was expertly delivered, presenting what felt like a fresh and contemporary interpretation of Puccini’s well-loved opera…[Susannah Glanville’s] Tosca was without exception beautifully executed, capturing the melodramatic highs and lows of the glamorous character. [Jose] Ferrero’s portrayal of Cavaradossi was defiant, robust and exquisitely romantic…Scarpia, played by Robert Poulton, stole the show with his voice as domineering and captivating as his character…Scottish Opera’s Tosca is flawless, from start to finish a feast for the eyes, and an exceptional delivery of Puccini’s powerful score.’
The Herald *****

 

‘In this latest reincarnation just about every component works to oiled perfection. This is an evening that looks and sounds exactly the way newcomers hope opera will look and sound. Updated, aptly to the familiar excesses of Mussolini’s Rome, its music is sweeping, memorable and sumptuously performed – which is pretty much as Puccini intended…In particular, Robvert Poulton’s nuanced acting and authoritative baritone lend the venal police chief Scarpia a knowingness that makes his behaviour all the wickeder. Susannah Glanville similarly finds the vulnerability beaneath Tosca’s theatrical mannerisms…’
The Scottish Daily Express *****

 

 

‘…it’s in this last act that Susannah Glanville’s portrayal of Tosca reaches its sublimest heights. Not only does she hold the stage with thoroughly convincing acting, but sings with rapturous intensity that, by the murder scene, was both breathtaking and overwhelming. How could Robert Poulton’s dry and menacing Scarpia fail to stand up to that? No problems there, with a portrayal last night that exuded misplaced power, stopped well short of caricature, adding to the horrifying realism of the moment…Jose Ferrero’s truest moment as Cavaradossi came at the end, with vocal assuredness that matched that of Glanville’s memorable Tosca.’
The Scotsman ****

 

 

‘Brilliantly transplanted from the Napoleonic era to fascist Rome in 1943…Besch’s take on this relentless melodramatic, political thriller doesn’t just rely on our abhorrence of the fascisti to colour its characters. Robert Poulton’s nasty, sleazy Scarpia takes the dramatic honours, raging his lustful god-complex against the high drama of the church in Puccini’s magnificent Te Deum…a production well worth seeing.’
The Times ****

 

 

‘English soprano Susannah Glanville, her Tosca facing the choice of giving herself to the lecherous Scarpia or watching her beloved Cavaradossi executed, sings…with a spine-tingling anguish. When [Jose] Ferrero, his Cavaradossi surrounded by fascist soldiers on the roof of the Castel Sant’Angelo, sings “never have I loved life so much”, he encapsulates the drive to political and romantic liberty which energises both Puccini’s opera and this deservedly revived production.’
The Sunday Herald.

 

Robert Poulton as Scarpia relishes the role. His seduction of Tosca in Act Two is determined and brutal…you practically cheer as she rams the knife into Scarpia’s guts but only after you have practically wept at Susannah Glanville’s rendition of Tosca’s famous Vissi d’arte, in which she contemplates what has brought her to this pretty pass. With rousing playing in the pit under Francesco Corti, the anguish rarely relents and Tosca’s final plunge from the battlements seals the deal…a thundering good night out it is too. Glamourous heroines, strutting villains, lovelorn swains, tunes to break your heart; what’s not to like?’
STV.tv

 

 

‘Scottish Opera’s revival of Anthony Besch’s Tosca offers a rewarding evening…Susannah Glanville’s Tosca was a revelation. She was marvellously histrionic and clearly something of an emotional handful. She raided the perfect diva’s toolbox and offered us every possible swoon, fluttered eyelash and gasp imaginable. And she could sing like a linnet too. Emotionally, Miss Glanville left one feeling entirely drawn into her passions and fears. Her voice was never less than beautiful, even amidst all her troubles.…the two other male leads were tiptop too. Jose Ferrero’s Cavaradossi the stable point about which Tosca’s emotional world whirled…His duet passages with Miss Glanville in the final act were by far the most emotionally successful moments of the entire evening…Star of the show though was undoubtedly Robert Poulton’s Baron Scarpia. It did not so much feel that Poulton owned this stage but that in his fascist outfit he would sooner or later own every stage. His was a villain who clearly did bad things before breakfast and had made cruelty his career. And yet he was mesmerising.’
Opera Britannia 3 and a half *

 

 

‘…the accuracy and opulence of Peter Rice’s sets and costumes lend the production a bit of authenticity and atmosphere, and the transfer from its Napoleonic setting to the pomposity and paranoia of the Fascist era is still an inspired concept…Vocally, this is a winning production; Susannah Glanville’s Tosca is a joy of soaring cadences: denouncing, pleading and full to the brim of anguish and love. Glanville combines her tunefulness with fine acting; it might be impossible to give a subtle interpretation of the passionate diva, but she still resists using the character’s temperamental nature to go over the top. Jose Ferero, making his Scottish Opera debut…is a superlative tenor, in possession of a powerful voice and more than capable of interpreting Puccini’s full blooded arias…Tosca possesses one fo the great operatic villains in Baron Scarpia and only the good manners of the audience prevent him from being hissed upon his entrance. Robert Poulton makes a very hissable Scarpia in deed; pompous, preening, practically licking his lips every time he sees Tosca. Poulton’s baritone is perfect for carrying both Scarpia’s authority and for his syrupy seduction techniques…classics become classics for a reason.’
TV Bomb ***

 

 

‘In this latest reincarnation just about every component works to oiled perfection. This is an evening that looks and sounds exactly the way newcomers hope opera will look and sound. Updated, aptly to the familiar excesses of Mussolini’s Rome, its music is sweeping, memorable and sumptuously performed – which is pretty much as Puccini intended…In particular, Robert Poulton’s nuanced acting and authoritative baritone lend the venal police chief Scarpia a knowingness that makes his behaviour all the wickeder. Susannah Glanville similarly finds the vulnerability beneath Tosca’s theatrical mannerisms…’
The Scottish Daily Express *****

 

 

Susannah Glanville, making her Scottish Opera debut, was an elegant Tosca, truly shocked by Scarpia’s bargaing for Cavaradossi’s ‘freedom’. Robert Poulton was a truly evil Scarpia dominating the stage and feared by all. The drama at the core of the opera in Act II was very convincing and strongly sung…Francesco Corti was really enjoying himself in the pit and the band was playing thrillingly…the capacity to move and amaze is very much still there.’
Bachtrack.com ****

 

 

‘a superb production of Puccini’s classic…it would be a tragedy to miss it.’
Evening Express

 

 

‘With its story of love and evil and as nasty a villain as opera can offer, ‘Tosca’ is one of the most accessible and compelling of operas and a great introduction for opera newbies. And with its typically high end production values, there are treats beyond the music. Peter Rice’s intricately detailed sets, for example, are as much a feast for the eye as Puccini’s music is for the ear…Robert Poulton’s Scarpia…is almost beguiling in his evil…Beneath Scarpia’s all too thin charming veneer, however, there is real malevolence and a delight in his brutality that fully justifies his brutal end at the hands of the beautiful Tosca…In contrast Jose Ferrero…is a heroic and dignified Cavaradossi…In the title role, Yorkshire-born Susannah Glanville gives a passionate and technically compelling performance, not just hitting the notes, but getting the emotions right…her emotional turmoil is entirely believable and sympathetic. Little wonder this latest Scottish Opera visit to Eden Court was a sell out. It deserved to be.’
Inverness Courier *****

 

 

‘This was a happy revival…Peter Rice’s Fascist-era sets were looking fresher than ever, and the revival director Jonathan Cocker got the best out of his cast….the performance was like a play in its seamlessness and flow. The conductor, Francesco Corti, deserves some credit…his account had freshness, intensity, colour. Susannah Glanville’s diva was glamorous and gutsy: she seized her moments without playing to the gallery, so that ‘Vissi d’arte’, chastely sung, had rare sincerity…Jose Ferrero’s Cavaradossi impressed by his dignity, Italianate timbre and secure top. Robert Poulton’s Scarpia, singing in authentic Anglo-Italian, resisted caricature: a doughty portrayal. Of the comprimarios, David Morrison’s Sacristan was the most deftly characterized. Back in 1980 this was my first Tosca, and it made a huge impact. In the intervening years many a Tosca has come and gone. This one still packs a punch.’
Opera