Heath’s lusty production

Energetic ‘Tosca’

There are more thrills and spills in a terrific, tiny- budget “Tosca” from Opera a la Carte, which is now touring. Director Nicholas Heath updates the action to the late 1940s and, with awe-inspiring economy, invests the action with a highly effective film-noir sensibility. If just a couple of moments lack punch, the overall energy doesn’t flag.

Cheryl Enever reprises the femme fatale look of Joan Crawford in “Mildred Pierce” beautifully, and sings a fine Tosca. Charne Rochford (Cavaradossi) and Paul Keohone (Scarpia) are uniformly good too.

The accompaniment, arranged for piano, organ and percussion, provides a surprising amount of beefiness. Even the climax to Act 1, which usually requires a massed chorus, works beautifully with just a handful of singers and the organ and bells at full blast.

It was a mad risk to stage “Tosca” as a chamber-sized piece. Heath’s lusty production shows that the greater the risk, the greater the rewards.

Rating: ***.

Warwick Thompson is a critic for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News

 

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Staff Details General Director
Nicholas Heath