The New York Metropolitan Opera, which is usually the hallmark that the rest of the country strives to obtain seems to have stumbled with their most recent production of Puccini's Tosca. The new production of Tosca under the direction of Luc Bondy received boos from the crowd - and the critics were no more favorable.
"And in Act 2 of 'Tosca,' Tosca always spots the knife with which she is going to kill Baron Scarpia at a particular chord in the music; and she always sets lighted candles around his dead body before she leaves the room. It's in the score; it's in the music; it must be so.
So when Luc Bondy, the director of the new "Tosca" that opened the Metropolitan Opera's season Monday night, had Tosca fail to do those things, he was virtually guaranteed a lusty chorus of boos." - Anne Midgette, Washington Post
It seems not only was some of the "important" elements missing, but the performances were lackluster as well.
Tenor Marcelo Álvarez was a generic Cavaradossi, interested in his full, round tone and extending climaxes for as long as he could get away with. A Georgian bass, George Gagnidze, replaced Juha Uusitalo, who took ill and bowed out of the production a week ago. Gagnidze’s Scarpia never seemed a match for the towering Mattila or, for that matter, even for his call girls. His goons -- Spoletta (Joel Sorensen) and Sciarrone (James Courtney) and their other black-clad assistants in torture – were the more confident sadists. Veteran bass Paul Plishka was the bumbling Sacristan." - Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times
Even the set dressing was bland
"Mr. Peduzzi, abetted by lighting designer Max Keller, went for grays, browns and dimness. His Sant'Andrea della Valle, a vaulted brick fortress devoid of ornament..." - Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal
Then, of course, there is OperaChic, who can always be counted on to get to the heart of the matter.
Bondy unsurprisingly and predictably got on the nerves of opera-goers that consider stark sets an insult to the art form -- they want opera as Moulin Rouge, as a Disneyland version of a romanticized, European past that might or might not have existed in the first place.
Each of these reviewers had nice things to say but always came back around to the negative. Then top it off the crowd boo'd the production. It's been a while since I've been in an opera house that didn't at least get a lukewarm applause after a performance. This doesn't bode well for signore Bondy.