Tag Archives: Natalya Romaniw

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: Rusalka – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Antonin Dvořák’s rarely seen lyrical fairy tale for adults, Rusalka, is performed for the first time by Scottish Opera and for only the second time ever in Scotland, and it has been absolutely well worth the wait.

Intertwining the human world with an unearthly realm, Rusalka, a water nymph, longs to be human so she can win the love of the Prince who comes to bathe in the waters where she lives. Rusalka strikes a deal with the witch Ježibaba, who grants her wish but as with all true fairy tales, wishes come at a price.

Anne Sophie Duprels as Rusalka. Scottish Opera 2016. Credit James Glossop. (3)

The libretto by Jaroslav Kvapil is Czech to its core, written at the height of his powers, inspired by the fairy tales of Erben and Nemcova, as well as Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid and Friedrich de la Motte Fouqués Undine, it is widely regarded as one of the greatest European libretti and here under the baton of newly appointed Music Director Stuart Stratford, it truly has the power to move.

This production from Antony McDonald originates from Grange Park Opera in 2008 and sets the story firmly in the fairy tale realm. The atmospheric staging is filled with visual delights and changes from eerie forest glade to below stairs and the ballroom of the palace with aplomb. Lucy Burge’s innovative choreography compliments the production beautifully and its originality and humour are a treat.

Sir Willard White as Rusalka's father and Anne Sophie Duprels as Rusalka. Scottish Opera 2016. Credit James Glossop.

The performances across the piece are universally deserving of praise: Anne Sophie Duprels’ Rusalka moves eloquently through all three stages of the character: other-wordly creature, mute human and exiled spirit. Sir Willard White delivers a show of strength as Vodník, Rusalka’s father, Peter Wedd is a solid Prince, Leah-Marian Jones’ is a gleefully evil Ježibaba and Natalya Romaniw is an eye and ear-catching foreign princess.

Rusalka2-large_trans++rWYeUU_H0zBKyvljOo6zlvh-mg3k_tLn4lJhUg2MIbY

A five-star production in every way from Scottish Opera, catch it in Glasgow at the Theatre Royal on April 7th and 9th and at Edinburgh Festival Theatre on April 14th and 16th 2016.

Image credit: James Glossop