Puccini: Tosca

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Puccini
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Tosca
PERFORMER: Jane Eaglen, Dennis O’Neill, Gregory Yurisich, Andrew Shore; Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Peter Kay Children’s Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra/David Parry
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 3000(2) DDD
It is now twenty years since Peter Moores declared his intention to support recordings of core operatic repertoire in English translation. This began with the Goodall Ring in the Seventies and now includes two Verdis – Traviata and Otello – Donizetti’s Mary Stuart and Janácek’s Cunning Little Vixen (all EMI) and, most recently, Rossini’s Barber of Seville (on Chandos).

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The accessible, colloquial translation of Tosca by Edmund Tracey gives even the most familiar passages of music a startling immediacy and in this recording you can hear almost every word, which is marvellous.

Dennis O’Neill gives Cavaradossi all the dramatic fervour and intense sound required. His voice is vividly rich and expansive throughout with only a smidgen of strain at the very top of his range.

Jane Eaglen’s Tosca is a high-voltage performance. Her ability to judge all the subtle nuances of sound and phrasing in this role is acutely displayed in Act II. Gregory Yurisich has the right depth of vocal colour and vehemence to deliver Scarpia. More menace in the tone, however, would not have gone amiss, particularly in the second act. Andrew Shore is an amusing and characterful Sacristan.

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Although the orchestral playing is sumptuous and well paced overall, David Parry does exhibit a tendency to pull Puccini into a dragging slowness at times. Elise McDougall