The fiery, passionate grandeur of Puccini's Tosca came to life with the Metropolitan Opera's new production of March 1985. Franco Zeffirelli, who both directed and designed the sets for the production, left his audience po... more »sitively agasp. Conducted by Guiseppe Sinopoli. Appearances made by: James Courtney, Italo Tajo, Placido Domingo, Hildegard Behrens, Cornell MacNeil, Anthony Laciura, Russell Christopher, Melissa Fogarty, and Richard Vernon. Subtitled in English and filmed on March 20 and 27, 1985.« less
"This version, with Placido Domingo as Cavarodossi and Robert McCracken as Scarpia, is the best one I've ever seen. Domingo is famed in this century for the excellence of his Cavarodossi, and in this video you can plainly see why. You'd have to be made of stone not to cry like a baby after hearing his "E lucevan stelle" in the last act. Hildegard Beherens has the best rendition of "Vissi d'Arte" I've heard, better than Callas, than Marton, than Van Ness. Mac's Scarpia is amazingly evil; in his costume and makeup he looks somewhat like a toad, but his voice is a beautiful, rich baritone- almost too beautiful for this villainous role. All of them together make for a perfect casting of this opera, one of Puccini's best- not a single wasted note, action, or aria. "Tosca" is a jewel among Puccini's works- more accessible than "Butterfly" and "Turandot"- a good work for those just starting their enjoyment of this art form. And this version is a fine addition to the collection of afficionado and beginner alike."
Cornell MacNeil is spectacular as Scarpia!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have five "Toscas" on video and DVD. This production, done at the Met in NYC, is the best of the lot. I Have seen this same production at the Met and the scenery is wonderful. I agree it is Placido Domingo's best performances on video. Hildegard Behrens plays a very charming and believable Tosco. Her performance in ActII with Cornell MacNiel as Scarpia is particularly moving. But it is MacNeil who steals the show! He play the part of the villain with such exactness and facial expressions that at times he looks like Dracular! He is also in excellent voice for this performance. This is a "don't miss" Tosca."
The very best Tosca--here's why
Mr John Haueisen | WORTHINGTON, OHIO United States | 06/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The secret to a successful performance of TOSCA is the dramatic tension linking the three main characters: the good Floria Tosca, her lover Cavaradossi, and the evil Scarpia. For the performance to work, the audience must be convinced of the evil nature of Scarpia. Cornell MacNeil's Scarpia oozes evil through every pore. His lewd leers at Tosca, and the ease with which he orders all manner of torture, seeming to enjoy it as much as others are repulsed by it, provides an authentic flavor to his character. Placido Domingo's voice is at its very best, and to hear him sing Cavaradossi is, in itself, enough reason to enjoy this production. Hildegard Behrens is a convincing Tosca, especially in the dramatic "This is Tosca's kiss!" She nearly injures her voice as she growls at Scarpia, "Mori, mori, mori"--"Die, die, die." No other Tosca has better dispatched the unbearably monstrous Scarpia. The staging, lighting, set, and Sinopoli's conducting are simply marvelous, as is usually the case at the Met. You can almost smell the incense, as Scarpia struts around inside the church. Of all the available performances of Tosca, this is the most dramatic, with excellent singing, acting, and casting. It will transport you back in history, and you will share the almost delicious pathos of the participants. This is the very best Tosca."
Mixed feelings about this DVD
N. Gallimore | Upminster United Kingdom | 07/20/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have to confess to having very mixed feelings about this release, which judging by all the reviews I have read is not the general consensus of opinion. Still never mind - it would be a boring world indeed if we all agreed about everything. I have seen this production at Covent Garden (with the same diva as here - except at the performance I was at she was booed at her curtain call. Not by me I hasten to add). But even at Covent Garden I felt she wasn't right for Tosca - and here I still feel the same. I agree with the reviews that she is a regal Tosca, and acts well, but for me she doesn't get under the skin of the role. Watch Callas or Marton and you will see what I mean. Now, watch or listen to her singing Elektra or Brunnhilde and you can see her in a fach totally suited to this great singing actress - but for me not Tosca. Domingo is great in the role, totally convincing and giving his usual excellent performance - but I am afraid that no one can sing Cavarodossi for me like Pavarotti. I saw Sam Ramey as Scarpia at Covent Garden and he was just perfection personified. The production is perfect - the attention to detail takes your breath away, and lets face it, this is an excellent DVD. But, and for me it is a big but, it just lacks that final touch. A shame, but not quite right. However, before my review influences your decision, just remember everyone else seems to love it. How subjective reviews are!"
Worth it, buy it
Fred Chung | San Francisco, CA | 02/01/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Unlike some, I wasn't thrilled with the sound quality of this DVD, but it is a solid performance in every way -- outstanding in a few ways.The outstanding: Domingo -- in fine voice, and very much looking the part of Cavaradossi; the conducting by Sinopoli -- truly dramatic and intense leadership; the Zeffirelli sets -- deluxe to the nth degree.The solid: Behrens as Tosca -- vocally powerful, but dramatically somewhat stiff; MacNeil -- wonderfully oily as Scarpia, a distinctive interpretation, but past his prime and rather weak of voice (esp. by comparison with Domingo & Behrens).Although the audience was a little clap-happy, applauding even for the singers' entrances (before they'd sung a word), I found myself getting into the performance with the audience. On the whole, a very good DVD -- your best bet for this opera."