Tag Archives: Gwyn Hughes Jones

REVIEW: Tosca – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Sumptuous, stunning, shocking, and still sensational, Anthony Besch’s production for Scottish Opera of Giacomo Puccini’s once decried, but now beloved, “shabby little shocker” Tosca, still has the power to stir almost 40 years on. As evidenced by the packed house, this ninth revival, is as popular as ever, and rightly so.

Now widely utilised, but ground-breaking in the 1980s, was Besch’s re-setting of the work from the Napoleonic era to 1940s Fascist-era Rome, and the production looks and feels as fresh and relevant as the moment it first appeared.

As the curtain rises on Peter Rice’s glorious set there is an audible gasp from both those new to this production and those in the audience welcoming home an old and much-loved friend from its extensive travels around the globe. The magnificent realisation of the church of Sant’Andrea della Valle, is truly breath-taking, never more so than in the Te Deum, where the splendidly clad clergy and congregation bring the curtain down on the first act. The representations of Scarpio’s office in the Palazzo Farnese and the ramparts of the Castel Sant’Angelo are just as magnificent and historically accurate.

Puccini’s sublime music sounds strikingly modern and almost cinematic throughout, and the orchestra under the baton of Stuart Stratford sounds majestic, managing to strike the perfect balance of power without ever overwhelming the singers.

Natalya Romaniw is an out-standing Tosca, seamlessly marrying her stunning vocals to beautifully measured and highly convincing acting skills. Roland Wood is an assured Scarpia, but it is Gwyn Hughes Jones as Cavaradossi who is the knock out of the evening, never was a voice more perfectly married to a role, he is truly stunning.

This is a five-star, breath-taking production in every respect, and the perfect example of what opera can and should be.

Runs until 26 October 2019, then touring to Inverness, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

For more information visit Scottish Opera

IMAGES: JAMES GLOSSOP

 

 

REVIEW: Il trovatore – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

The great Caruso famously stated: “all it takes for a successful performance of Il trovatore is the four greatest singers in the world”, and it must be acknowledged that it is a brave company indeed who takes on this much-loved melodramatic, but ultimately gloomy masterpiece of Verdi’s. Scottish Opera may not have found the magical four in this production but they certainly have two truly outstanding singers in Gwyn Hughes Jones’ troubadour of the title and Anne Mason’s Gypsy Azucena.

With an almost incomprehensible plot, at best it could be described as unconventional, it certainly stretches the boundaries of belief, this difficult to stage work relies on Verdi’s masterful music to make sense of proceedings.

Martin Lloyd-Evans’ revamping of the Company’s 1992 simplistic but soaring set design does little to aide an often too-static production other than setting the atmosphere firmly in the Middle Ages, but it must be said that it doesn’t hinder the narrative, rather lending it a welcome cohesion.

What elevates this production is a hugely talented cast. Claire Rutter is an assured Leonora, coping with ease with this notoriously difficult to sing role, Roland Wood’s Count di Luna is both commanding in presence as well as voice, but it is Anna Mason’s emotive Azucena and Gwyn Hughes Jones gloriously voiced Manrico who truly capture the eye and ear.

The chorus under the direction of Susannah Wapshott is particularly fine sounding, however the much-anticipated Anvil Chorus is a tad underwhelming, more tinkling triangle than arresting anvil.

Under the brisk baton of Tobias Ringborg the Orchestra of Scottish Opera sound full blooded throughout.

This is a traditional, assured, no-frills production with a fine cast and a blistering orchestra: highly recommended.

Runs until 17 May 2015 then touring.

This article was original written for and published by The Public Reviews at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/il-trovatore-theatre-royal-glasgow/