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Anna Patalong makes her function debut as Puccini’s Tosca at Opera Holland Park

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Puccini: Tosca - Opera Holland Park, 2024 (Photo: Ali Wright)
Puccini: Tosca – Opera Holland Park, 2024 (Photograph: Ali Wright)

Puccini: Tosca;
Anna Patalong, José de Eça, Morgan Pearse, director: Stephen Barlow,
conductor: Matthew Kofi Waldren, Metropolis of London Sinfonia; Opera Holland
Park
Reviewed 12 June 2024

A return to Opera Holland Park’s 1968-set Tosca for the poised and interesting function debut of Anna Patalong

Puccini: Tosca - Anna Patalong - Opera Holland Park 2024 (Photo: James Clutton/Opera Holland Park)
Puccini: Tosca – Anna Patalong – Opera Holland Park 2024
(Photograph: James Clutton/Opera Holland Park)


We returned to Opera Holland Park’s manufacturing of Puccini’s Tosca that opened its 2024 season [see my review] on Wednesday 12 June 2024 to see Anna Patalong taking on the function of Tosca in her function debut, alongside the unique forged, José de Eça as Cavaradossi, Morgan Pearse as Scarpia, Edwin Kaye as Angelotti, Ross Ramgobin because the Sacristan, Phillip Costovski as Spoleta and Alex Jones as Sciarrone. Matthew Kofi Waldren performed the Metropolis of London Sinfonia.

Second time round, Stephen Barlow’s manufacturing stays as gratifying as ever and this time, one appreciated the immense element that he brings to the story, layering it fastidiously. But it’s by no means element that pulls focus, however merely contributes to the narrative and the setting. In order that the fixed passing by of assorted atypical members of the general public on the opening of Act One offers the correct quantity of native color to ascertain what in any other case may be a slightly bald setting, but additionally feeds into Angelotti’s (Edwin Kaye) anxieties. 

This isn’t a kind of transpositions the place you must make loads of allowances when following the textual content, right here Barlow has imaginatively transposed nearly all the things, in order that Ross Ramgobin’s Sacristan nonetheless complains about cleansing brushes, however now refers back to the stiff brush that he’s utilizing to wash the church steps. Not all the things works completely, however second time round we have been simply as transported and by no means had the issue of ‘sure however…’

José de Eça’s Cavaradossi stays a formidable achievement. De Eça sings with a wonderful darkish tone and a beautiful consistency, which matches a great distance on this function. His phrases had a effective evenness to them, alongside aspect a sure thrill. Frankly, he’s not essentially the most thrilling of actors however his Cavaradossi labored as a personality, although there may be nonetheless the sneaking suspicion that de Eça depends slightly an excessive amount of on ‘la voce’ to supply the joy, however he’s a terrific discover, crowning the night with a beautiful account of his last aria.

Second time round, I warmed to the best way Morgan Pearse’s portrayed Scarpia not as a bodily bully however as a slimy, political toad. This was all about physique language. Pearse’s voice lacks the heft to impose itself on his environment, however he greater than compensates through a terrific all spherical efficiency. This Scarpia was compelling to take a look at on a regular basis, and Pearse’s vivid vocalism at all times matched it. There was actual pleasure in the best way that he performed cat and mouse with Anna Patalong’s Tosca.

There was no sense that Anna Patalong was making a debut, or stepping in a part of the best way by way of the run of the manufacturing. From her first entry, this Nineteen Sixties dolly chicken Tosca was poised and assured. She was fairly critical, however youthful in tone, there was nothing girlish about her.  There was a pleasant heft to the voice, however a sure vivaciousness too. So, there was a playfulness to her interactions with José de Eça’s Cavaradossi, but it was clear who had the higher hand. You additionally sensed that she appreciated being La Tosca, the superstar. But, when the going acquired robust, there was an impulsiveness and vibrancy to her efficiency, this Tosca actually acquired labored up within the warmth of a second, so it was simple for Morgan Pearse’s Scarpia to get an increase from her. Patalong was a really bodily performer, and this slightly advised the character’s youthfulness. In Act Two, ‘Vissi d’arte’ was movingly achieved and intense, however as half and parcel of a complete, and Act Three was compelling. A notable debut.

The remaining forged have been all spectacular of their help, and this stays a terrific ensemble manufacturing. There was one different function debut, Daniel Catalogna because the shepherd boy on the opening of Act Three (right here the younger gopher within the bar), singing with agency, clear tone and becoming convincingly into the manufacturing. 

Refrain, kids from Cardinal Vaughan Memorial College and the Metropolis of London Sinfonia have been all on prime type, including to the vividness of our expertise second time round. I proceed to take pleasure in Matthew Kofi Waldren’s mixture of self-discipline and suppleness on this repertoire, and there by no means felt something ‘lowered’ in regards to the orchestral contribution.

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