Met Opera's controversial 'Tosca' production airs Wednesday on PBS
If you didn't make it to New York for the Metropolitan Opera's heartily booed production of "Tosca" earlier this season, or catch the HD broadcast at a cineplex, you can discover what the fuss was all about when PBS airs a performance Wednesday night (the Baltimore and DC affiliates have it scheduled for 9 pm).
It was fascinating to observe all the ire generated by this unconventional staging of the Puccini war horse. To read some of the reviews or the comments on various opera-centric Web sites, you might have suspected that an actual crime had been committed at Lincoln Center.
I found myself liking a lot more about director Luc Bondy's concept than I expected to when I encountered the production at the Met in early October. The emphasis on the volatility of the
title character made particular sense in this context; the starkness of the sets had a way of focusing the attention on the human drama; several of the smaller details registered with great weight.
No question that some things don't work or don't add enough of value to justify their inclusion (the cameras go into discreet mode for the cheesy Scarpia-and-his-hookers routine in Act 2). But, ultimately, I still think this is a theatrically absorbing "Tosca" on many levels. Musically, it's OK, too, sometimes much more than that.
But enough about me. Feel free to use this space to cheer or jeer after the broadcast.