This gripping and visually stunning film has been universally hailed as one of the most satisfying of all versions of opera on celluloid. Director Gianfranco de Bosio has given an extraordinary dimension of realism to this story of love, deception and murder by shooting it all in the original Roman location. Using diverse cinematic tricks and imaginative camerawork, this opera film is much more a visual interpretation of Puccini’s music than a theatre piece filmed in original settings.
Contemporary Rome is the setting for this unique and highly innovative version of Puccini’s Tosca, performed in the Roman locations – and at the same times of day – as Puccini had written into his score. Thus the action opens in the beautiful 16th-century church of Sant’Andrea della Valle at noon, where Cavaradossi (Domingo) meets the fugitive Angelotti, moves to the Farnese Palace that evening where Tosca (Catherine Malfitano) dramatically makes a pact with the lustful Scarpia (Ruggero Raimondi), and finally to the battlements of the Castel Sant’Angelo at dawn the following day where the final drama is played out.
Kathleen Battle and Placido Domingo delight the listener from start to finish in this complilation. Most notable are the duets from La Traviata and The Merry Widow. In my experience of soprano/tenor performances, one voice usually is stronger or more powerful than the other, thus disappointing to that listener who is seeking a perfect blending of voices. Ms. Battle and Mr. Domingo achieve that perfect blend on each duet on this CD. Their solo performances are equally outstanding. It is no wonder they are in such demand with audiences in Japan where this CD was recorded live, as well as throughout the world.