Showing posts with label Angela Gheorghiu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Angela Gheorghiu. Show all posts

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Who's your Tosca?

Two rising stars of the opera world are taking on Tosca at Covent Garden: Amanda Echalaz and Kristine Opolais. They're very different. Which is the Tosca for you? I talked to them both and a bit of our chats is in today's Independent. More appears below. Incidentally, I popped into the ROH the other day to do some more interviews and found the foyers hearteningly packed with kids, who were excited and shouting after the first act of the Tosca schools' matinee. They saw Amanda, and she certainly seemed to be doing the trick for them.

Tosca is an opera for a diva about a diva. No wonder this perennial Puccini favourite is, to many sopranos, the ultimate prize of the repertoire. Floria Tosca is an opera singer trapped between the artist she loves and the dictator who lusts after her, and in the Royal Opera’s latest revival, the spotlight falls on two fast-rising stars who take on the role in turn. 

I remember speaking to Angela Gheorghiu about Tosca once: she declared that in this role she was simply playing herself. So does a soprano have to be a diva - in every sense - to be a great Tosca? 

Amanda Echalaz, 36, thinks not. She shot to prominence in this same work at Opera Holland Park in 2008, since when it has become her “signature” role (audiences may also have spotted her in the Cardiff Singer of the World 2005 in which she represented her native South Africa). More recently she has performed Tosca at ENO and, crucially, stepped in at Covent Garden about three years ago when Angela Gheorghiu dropped out - since when she has been hailed as this star's successor in the role. “I never get tired of singing it,” she says. 

For her, she adds, “Tosca is a very human figure: she’s full of wonderful qualities and like most people she has her flaws, which makes her very likeable. I’m drawn to the passionate, fiery side of her: she has a real zest for life. Her diva characteristics are obvious, but it’s more interesting to try to find the real woman behind that, especially the real woman in love.” Echalaz herself, unlike Tosca, seems serene and relatively down to earth. She identifies with Tosca’s vitality and passion for music – but there, she insists, the resemblance ends.  “Playing someone so extreme can be liberating, but I’m a little calmer in real life.”

But the Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais, 33, whose 2011 Royal Opera House debut in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly took her audience by storm, declares simply: “Tosca is like me! She’s an opera singer and she’s very jealous. 

"You can find everything in this very colourful and powerful woman. She’s strong, emotional and impulsive, and what happens to her is a great tragedy as she gives everything she is capable of giving for love. I feel very at home when I sing this role.”

Opolais, who is married to the conductor Andris Nelsons and has recently had her first child, adds with a laugh that she thinks “divas” are inherently “not normal”. “Who would want to do this job? You’re nervous, you go on stage and all the time you are afraid whether the audience will love you or not. Even if you are stable, you are always afraid. So I think Tosca is already a little bit crazy – as every big diva has to be.” 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Top tweets for Tosca

In case you missed the fun, Tosca trended on Twitter yesterday when the Royal Opera House's production by Jonathan Kent hit BBC2, starring Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel, with Tony Pappano conducting. Experience the power and the glory of this singular Christmas treat by reading a selection of the verdicts, commentaries, quips, observations and much more that spurred the stars on their way, from living rooms up and down the country... (BTW, this timeline goes backwards, so we start at the end.)


@richardwjones As good as Angela Gheorgiu was as Tosca, nobody will ever be quite as good as Maria Callas.   

@talopine Being made VERY jealous by all the people in my timeline who are raving over  on the BBC with Kaufman and Terfel.  

@Random_Opera After brilliance of  earlier, why are we being given repeats of f***ing Morecambe & Wise on BBC2 (and equal shit on other channels...)

@jonathanclinch Sooo true.... RT   is trending, c'mon  don't just put decent opera on the tele at Xmas, people WANT to watch it!!!!!

@sanathaash1993 was awesome!

@Operazzi : Is this really suitable viewing for a Saturday afternoon - torture, attempted rape, murder, execution, suicide? ” ALWAYS!

@itsmao  and now .T when am I going to stop crying?

  is trending, OPERA ISN'T DEAD!!

@DrPiffle It was amazing, wasn't it? Sublime leads, spec JK. Orchestra in fine form too.  

@BlueBaby  was frightening enough from the amphitheatre.On TV he was terrifying  'thavenightmares

@stu_melling Tosca over: tears dried and the excitement of my first visit to on Feb 11th kicks in now.  

@amzenon It was amazing.. stunning.. captivating.. even on television.. I hope you can hear and see it sometime... 

@kittywhately Overwhelmed by  at . Terrifyingly good and incredibly moving. And Kaufmann and  made it a total hunk fest!

  an excellent production thank you More please

@marcodemag Mario Cavaradossi's quite hot shirtless 

@Gert Shabby little shocker 

@theviciouspixie Dear Santa, in my stocking I would like Jonas Kaufmann please. 

@redragwork Wow - that  was heart-stopping

: Ah Jonas, that was quite some Christmas treat.  

@Popher Thank you BBC.  was brilliant, a delightful change from the normal Xmas tv

@leboyfriend For me that was entirely satisfying and fulfilling. Bravi tutti!! 

@Mark_Pullinger Ah, a Spoletta who milks the final moments! Excellent performance of  - so sorry I didn't get a ticket, but thanks Beeb for the relay.

@glittrgirl Gosh I feel knackered after watching that 

@Irma0316 Magnificent! Fantastic! Stunning! Amazing! *stands up and applauds*  

@David_CAA That  bloke can sing a bit, but I couldn't understand a word he said

@amzenon .. Grandiose !!! above all Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel.. Pappano & Orch. fantastic.. tremendous broadcast.. 

@hannahmmay pahaha, just watched Puccini's  from the Royal Opera House on BBC2! 

@ivisbohlen Horrible, but great acting! RT : It's horrible that we know that he knows......

@glittrgirl I had goosepimples through nearly all of that  *blows noes* *dabs eyes*

@tonyhatfield tears- end of  

@John_Denny Anyone else think Scarpia looks like Ed Balls? 

@clavdivs1 That was SUPERB! We need more opera on the telly! 

@_Joliffe FINALLY. Needn't of jumped, I'd happily of pushed. 

@danny_blue2004 I've always had this image of her popping back up again 


@goldenavenger1 Only slight downside of watching opera on the telly is I can see Cavaradossi breathing when he's meant to be dead. 


@railtonrailton Don't worry, he's still breathing 

@RuthElleson Yikes, I never like watching this bit... ...

@MahlerMad Presto, su. Mario! Mario! MARIO!!!! AAAAAAAH! 

@glittrgirl The good thing about watching opera at home is being able to bawl audibly. 

@flumpmistress If he'd done that lip curl, I'd have probably fainted! 


@greeboblackcat Humans yowling on tellybox. Staff bawling her eyes out. *nuzzles staff*  

@MahlerMad *hugs cushion* 

@TimSim85 I'll call you by a thousand loving names. 

@Irma0316 I'm in absolute BITS. God, how I love Puccini :) 

@MelJD46 'Together in harmony our souls fly to the ecstasy of love' 

@lynnmb25  ..everything that's beautiful will find its voice in you...breaking my heart!

@findo I am in awe of JK right now 

@millymelon Angela Gheorgiu's nipples: I can't understand why I can't see them in that dress 

@chiller Guys, just get in the carriage and go. If you hang about like this it's not going to end well. 

@Clavdivs1 No good plan starts with the line "You will be shot" 

@brendadada Jonas Kauffman's e lucevan is the most emotional I've ever heard. Domingo would be proud. 

@AngharadLee 'I die in despair and I have never loved life so much' - Jonas Kauffman u have brought me 2 tears. Stunning performance 

@Cairnspolitics if you only watch 1 opera in your life then it should be Tosca. Terrific performances on BBC Two now 

@EmilyOnsloe  just... WOW 

@leboyfriend e lucevan was exquisite 

@amzenon Oh...Jonas... 'E lucevan le stelle' ..sigh... sigh... sigh... 

@Erastes  - typical man, going to be shot and all he can talk about is shagging. # lucevanlestelle :D

@manx_maid Beautiful diminuendi - Jonas' trademark 

@dmartw Gibbering wreck after that  

@HorizonVA Jonas Kaufmann *sigh* 

@AngharadLee My 4yr old is loving  on  Not sure I can cope with anymore 'why' or 'what's he doing' questions mind. She's transfixed 

@Gert You go girl! Kill the nasty bastard Scarpia  

@brenbaritone   being taped fr me at home.I saw the cast after queuing 16 hours over night.looking forward to reliving it:-)

@Becky_Todd We approve of . Blooming brilliant on the beeb in as he is in everything. Loved my auditorium shifts when he was on.

@RachelWolseley Oh I do love you Ange, despite everything... 

@flumpmistress I'm not getting anything done, too enthralled! 

@brianbg OMG That  really can play a bad bastard. 

@Clavdivs1 Don't trust the man you daft girl, he's spent the last act lip curling maliciously and squeezing your boyfriend's head in a vice! 

@DiveSciDiva Even though I'm female even I'm finding Angela Gheorghiu's low cut dress distracting 

@rob_f_1  never ever seen an opera before but current showing of  is absolutely fantastic. Amazed. Thank you!

@raethepain Visi D'arte time! Unfortunate boob slippage there though. 

@AngharadLeeThank God 4  .Relief fromXmas 4 a wee while.Terfel just head butted him  Not classified as a fair fight in th valleys

@_widdershins Headbutt in an opera! Nicely done Bryn.  

@sensisuperstar It's all kicking off on BBC2, Bryn Terfel has just butted some bloke... 

@malatrope Doesn't Bryn Terfel look like Meatloaf  

@Paul_Anater There's hope! RT : RT :  is trending :D This restores my faith in humanity

@cazponty For all the ladies drooling at Jonas...good....all the more Bryn for me!

@CharlSkidmore Watching the same production of  I camped outside the for. SO EXCITED. BBC 2 you've made my day.

@patrickxwest Can't help wondering if Meatloaf wouldn't make a good Scarpia 

@Gert Take your dirty hands off Jonas, you brutes! 

@JackSullivan2 Right that's it I'm going to write an opera so I can marry Jonas Kaufmann 

@leboyfriend I'm a wreck already - and I have seen this more than any other opera so it's not like it's full of surprises. 

@yourPollyanna Mother's just come into the room and asked if she's "chucked herself off the turrets yet?" 

@billybothwell68  is even trending lol wow is this what happens when the x-factor finishes ? BBC HD folks its even better :)

@SophieBellaWiz Current trending topics are ridiculous. What is this fuckery? The only decent one is , which I hope is in referrence to Meerkat Manor.

@lucy_arch LOVELOVELOVE 

@sbuttsoprano no queueing for interval g&t! Shuddering at  's evil Scarpia.

@quentinrayner Opera singers must go deaf, bellowing at such close range into each others faces   

@ivisbohlen I'll keep an ear out for this. RT : Here comes one of his best bits: diminuendo through the key change in same breath 

@bubblesmoloney I wonder if 33 is too old to become an Opera singer? I have the 'lungs'. 

@manx_maid Lady tweeps who don't think they're into opera may like to look at Mr Jonas Kaufmann on BBC2 NOW. That is all. 

@thestorti I wish my life was narrated by the lead singer in  would mean making toast would be so epic.

@RuthElleson Only  could wear THAT waistcoat and look hot. 

@JackyTarlton Watching Antonio Pappano's  on  now. Thrilling start to Christmas. Great to have opera on tv:)