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Cat. No. CHAN 3066 Price: £9 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 3066 - Puccini: Tosca, Jane Eaglen Sings
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Available From: 17 April 2001
Puccini’s interest in Tosca began in 1889 when he saw Victorien Sardou’s vintage 1887 melodrama and realised its potential as an opera. It was not until 1898 that he began composing the opera, which received its premiere in Rome in January 1900. It has proved to be one of the hardiest of Puccini’s works and one that every dramatic soprano wants to perform.

Three arias, two for tenor and one for soprano, are the most familiar parts of the score and are among the most recorded pieces of music in the world. They share certain qualities, namely Puccini’s lush lyricism and expansive expressiveness. They are relatively short, none of them lasting more than three minutes, as they are designed not to interrupt the momentum. Besides these solos, the soprano and the tenor participate in two effective love duets, one in the first act, the other in the last. The character of the sadistic Baron Scarpia, baritone, has his solo moments as well, but owing to his evil nature these are rarely encountered outside the context of the opera.

In a plot filled with intense and clearly motivated action there is scant time for lyric expansiveness. One of Puccini’s most treasurable gifts as a composer of opera is his ‘theatrical clock’: he understood the optimum duration for every kind of episode. Unlike Sardou’s melodrama, which one would not expect to encounter on the spoken stage, Puccini’s opera – which converts Sardou’s characters into memorably expressive ones, fully human in their strengths and weaknesses – is a fixture in the operatic repertory.
Reviews

‘This is an issue to delight… I look forward to more in the series.’
The Guardian

‘…this issue should convince doubters of the merits of such a series.’
Opera Now

‘…one of the most formidable, vocally satisfying portrayals of the role of Tosca in years. The thrilling security with which she [Jane Eaglen] attacks one top note after another is a delight…’
The Guardian

 

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