Monday, June 01, 2009

Tosca Dress Rehearsal

Tosca Dress Rehearsal
San Francisco Opera
Sat 30 May 2009 1:30pm

Unfortunately I didn't arrive as early as I would have liked, but it was still quite chaotic finding a seat for this dress rehearsal of Tosca, which opens the summer season tomorrow night. It was a full house, & I sat in the balcony next to a group of school children who were very well-behaved on their field trip to the opera. I also got a chance to see how the OperaVision video screens work, & I have to say that I was quite impressed by the videography. There were even some cool aerial shots of performers lying on the stage. Throw away those opera glasses; you've got OperaVision!

Pieczonka has a big voice & is a strong-willed Tosca. Lado Ataneli as Scapria also makes a nice, large sound & looked like he was having fun in the role. Tenor Carlo Ventre was singing all the notes, but he sounded weak most of the time. Pieczonka singing from off-stage was still louder than he was on-stage. Perhaps he was conserving his voice. There were fine performances in all the smaller roles. I liked the comic acting of Dale Travis as the sacristan. The shepherd boy at the beginning of Act III sang very well. Assuming the tenor rallies for the actual performances, this should be a musically satisfying production.

Because it was a rehearsal, I had the added opportunity here to spy the trumpet players reading a magazine together during the long stretches when they have nothing to play. During the 3rd act one of them even pulled out a paperback book to read. & since the curtain remained up between acts, we got to watch the set changes. I may have had more fun watching this than the actual show.

After the final curtain came down, the orchestra continued rehearsing, so we left the theater to the re-playing of the overture. Outside, the school children were sitting on the steps of the opera house for a group picture.


Civic Center said...

Many people hate OperaVision but I adore it, particularly if I'm doing standing room in the balcony. Great sound and you can see the performers in closeup if you feel like it (and not, if you don't).

Too bad they didn't have OperaVision during the Verdi "Requiem" last week. The soloists were invisible from the top of the balcony because the stage was thrust so far into the orchestra. Plus, the stupid old volunteer usher woman spent the performance noisily flipping through her program while sitting on a chair in the aisle. I was tempted to throw both her and her chair down the balcony stairs, but restrained myself and left halfway through the performance instead.

Axel Feldheim said...

I think I liked the OperaVision too. I even liked being able to see the conductor walk into the pit.

That's too bad the experience was so unsatisfactory in the balcony. But I am glad that you chose to leave rather than inflict material & bodily harm upon the usher & her chair.