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

 

 

NEWS: REVIVAL OF ANTHONY BESCH’S ACCLAIMED PRODUCTION OF PUCCINI’S TOSCA OPENS SCOTTISH OPERA’S 2019/20 SEASON

Scottish Opera’s 2019/20 Season begins in October with Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, a revival of the much-loved 1980 production by director Anthony Besch and designer Peter Rice.

Last performed by the Company in 2012, Tosca opens at Theatre Royal Glasgow on October 16, and tours to Aberdeen, Inverness and Edinburgh. Conducted by Scottish Opera Music Director Stuart Stratford, Besch’s production is set in 1940s Rome, in the shadow of Mussolini’s tyrannical rule. It tells the story of a passionate and ill-fated love, played out against a backdrop of political corruption and intrigue. Besch’s production of Tosca has been a huge hit with Scottish Opera audiences, and has toured to London, Liverpool and Newcastle. It has also been taken up by companies in Boston, Lisbon, Murcia, New Zealand and Oviedo.

Revival Director Jonathan Cocker directs an internationally renowned cast including Natalya Romaniw (Eugene Onegin 2018) and Sinéad Campbell-Wallace (who is appearing in Scottish Opera’s Lammermuir Festival double bill this September) as tragic opera diva Floria Tosca. Tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones (Il trovatore 2015) is Cavaradossi and baritone Roland Wood (Pelléas and Mélisande 2017) is Scarpia, the corrupt Chief of Police. They are joined by Scottish Opera favourites Dingle Yandell (The Magic Flute 2019), Aled Hall (Rigoletto 2018), Paul Carey Jones (The Trial 2017) and Lancelot Nomura (Ariadne auf Naxos 2018).

Stuart Stratford said: ‘Puccini’s Tosca really needs no introduction. It is one of the composer’s finest masterpieces and greatest achievements in terms of musical drama and orchestration. We are delighted that for the first time audiences in the UK have the chance to hear Natalya Romaniw in the title role, performing alongside Gwyn Hughes Jones and Roland Wood. Natalya was last on the Scottish Opera stage in our 2018 production of Eugene Onegin and has risen to prominence following her recent successes at English National Opera and Opera Holland Park, so we are thrilled to welcome her back.’

There are also three Dementia Friendly Performances of Tosca in Glasgow, Aberdeen (for the first time) and Edinburgh. With a running time of approximately one hour 45 minutes, these specially abridged performances are carefully designed to make the theatrical experience more accessible to people living with dementia. Sound and lighting levels are adjusted for the comfort of the audience, and the cast is joined on stage by a narrator. Audiences will also be able to go in and out of the auditorium during the performance and see the show in the foyer areas on TV screens.

Those who wish to discover more about how the production was created can attend Tosca Unwrapped, one-hour tasters delving further into the show, as well as Pre-show Talks. Audience members with a visual impairment can enjoy the full opera experience at audio-described performances, which have a live commentary describing the action on stage without compromising the music.

Tosca is supported by The Scottish Opera Syndicate.

Cast List

 

Tosca                                                                     Natalya Romaniw & Sinéad Campbell-Wallace 

Cavaradossi                                                            Gwyn Hughes Jones  

Scarpia                                                                      Roland Wood

Angelotti                                                                    Dingle Yandell  

Spoletta                                                                     Aled Hall

Sacristan                                                                   Paul Carey Jones

Sciarrone                                                                    Lancelot Nomura

 

Theatre Royal Glasgow, 282 Hope Street, Glasgow G2 3QA

Wed 16 Oct, 7.15pm

Fri 18 Oct, 7.15pm

Sun 20 Oct, 3pm

Tue 22 Oct, 7.15pm

Thu 24 Oct, 3pm (Dementia Friendly Performance)

Sat 26 Oct, 7.15pm

 

Tosca Unwrapped

Mon 21 Oct, 6pm

Tosca Pre-show Talk

Sat 26 Oct, 6pm

Tosca Touch Tour

Sat 26 Oct, 6pm

Tosca Audio-described performance

Sat 26 Oct, 7.15pm

 

His Majesty’s Theatre, Rosemount Viaduct, Aberdeen AB25 1GL

Thu 31 Oct, 7.15pm

Fri 1 Nov, 3pm (Dementia Friendly Performance)

Sat 2 Nov, 7.15pm

 

Tosca Pre-show Talk

Sat 2 Nov, 6pm

Tosca Touch Tour

Sat 2 Nov, 6pm

Tosca Audio-described performance

Sat 2 Nov, 7.15pm

 

Eden Court, Bishops Road, Inverness IV3 5SA

Tue 5 Nov, 7.15pm

Thu 7 Nov, 7.15pm

Sat 9 Nov, 7.15pm

 

Tosca Unwrapped

Fri 8 Nov, 6pm

Tosca Pre-show Talk

Sat 9 Nov, 6pm

Tosca Touch Tour

Sat 9 Nov, 6pm

Tosca Audio-described performance

Sat 9 Nov, 7.15pm

 

Festival Theatre, 13–29 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9FT

Thu 14 Nov, 7.15pm

Sun 17 Nov, 3pm

Tue 19 Nov, 3pm (Dementia Friendly Performance)

Thu 21 Nov, 7.15pm

Sat 23 Nov, 7.15pm

 

Tosca Unwrapped

Mon 18 Nov, 6pm

Tosca Pre-show Talk

Sat 23 Nov, 6pm

Tosca Touch Tour

Sun 17 Nov, 1.45pm

Tosca Audio-described performance

Sun 17 Nov, 3pm

IMAGE: operaomnia.co.uk

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/