Conductor: Christoph Campestrini
Director: Mark Streshinsky
Tosca: Alexandra Loutsion, soprano
Mario: Marco Cammarota, tenor
Scarpia: Philip Skinner, bass-baritone
This time the list of people involved in last night's semi-staged performance of Puccini's Tosca at Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera exactly matches the picture above the list. Our conductor was here last season to present a program of Italian music. Mark Streshinsky directs operas for West Edge. Our Tosca and Mario are new for me, but Philip Skinner (sometimes Philip, sometimes Phil) is a regular at West Edge in the San Francisco Bay Area where he has a following. I have seen him before in seven different operas, including the by now famous Lulu.
The conducting was good. View screens of the conductor were placed at the sides of the stage, as at Covent Garden, but I didn't notice anyone looking at them. As a semi-staged performance, the orchestra was at the back of the stage with a staging area at the front. Each act had an arrangement of furniture to make the set. The singers' proximity to the front of the stage made me more aware of the fine points of the plot than ever before. I don't remember noticing before that the current government was celebrating the defeat of Napolean, when at the end it is announced that Napolean has won and is moving toward Rome.
Phil went loud and domineering with his Scarpia. He is extremely good at this and received loud booing at the end. How much can one write about Tosca? I have reviewed it 9 times before. The singing was lovely, especially Alexandra. They followed the current fad of "Vissi d'arte" starting with Tosca lying on something. It was nevertheless beautiful.
Extremely interesting to me was Scott Levin (normally billed as E. Scott Levin?) who played the Sacristan who appears only at the beginning of the opera. His voice is extremely full and beautiful.
If we aren't to get a fully staged opera, this semi-staged one was good.