Teatro Comunale di Bologna: Tosca



by Bianca L. Nica
February 14, 2022



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After the Wagnerian concert form preview, conducted by the new Musical Director of Teatro Comunale di Bologna, the Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyvin, the 2022 opera season was officially inaugurated with Hugo de Ana’s new production of Tosca, conducted by M° Daniel Oren, accompanied by a huge social event in the foyer – photoshoots and the local TV interviews were not missing!

Hugo de Ana‘s production was classical, yet abstract when it comes to sets and costumes, not very inspired, nor very inspiring, since the Argentinian director re-proposed some of his previously used ideas: the whole stage is dominated by the permanent presence of certain elements (two huge doors, the fragments of a colossal statue, an arm and a hand placed in different positions etc.) whose meaning we do not fully understand. The dark atmosphere was created by a black semitransparent curtain, extremely annoying for the human eye, mostly when combined by the stage lights, and by the lighting effects ideated by Valerio Alfieri. The acting suggestions and the significance of certain gestures that De Ana would have liked to highlight in this production are interesting, but there is a gap between those and Oren’s vision upon the score – gap that shows especially in the case of the less experimented performers of the second cast. 

Daniel Oren has been conducting Tosca for more than forty years, he has taken it everywhere and it is one of the cornerstones of his repertoire and loves the voices. The Israeli maestro focused more on effect than on expressive depth, searching for timbres and colours, on narrative coherence. Often an extraordinary dynamic and expressive variety was achieved by the performers and orchestra, which were, though, intercalated with short moment of imprecision, sloppiness.

So, in this case, the greatest strength of Tosca’s premiere at Teatro Comunale di Bologna are the voices. 

Maria Jose Siri is one of the most acclaimed Toscas today, and in the bolognese public welcomed her warmly as she deserves, with prolonged applause at the end of Vissi d’arte, and not only, followed by a bis.

Svetlana Kasyan has the beauty and voice colour of a marvellous feature Floria Tosca, but the lack of experience showed in the most difficult long phrases of the role, which require stronger support of the sound.

Roberto Aronica did his very best as Mario Cavaradossi and enjoyed himself the public appreciation, demonstrated immediately after E lucevan le stelle. Aronica was a bit in doubt at the beginning, but convinced right from the first phrases of the third act. 

The Georgian tenor MikheilI Sheshaberidze was not convincing enough to get any reaction from the public after his first aria, which he eventually recuperated after his very passionate E lucevan le stelle. The acting, the relationship between Mario and Tosca resulted fragmented, just as the phrasing, because of the worry of the two performers towards the score, probably due to a lack of experience, as I previously mentioned. 

Erwin Schrott was the one who righteously performed the role of Scarpia for the premiere, as the theater initially announced, despite an unexplainable confusion created during the week before in the newspapers and on the social media. Un tal baccano in chiesa and suddenly we recognize the voice and the personality of one of the most sought after opera singer of our times. Sonorous voice, beautiful colour, extraordinary charisma and authoritative stage presence. Unfortunately, during the second act a few notable moments of insecure solfeggio and questionable diction intervened in his interpretation. Despite this, Schrott’s Scarpia, in a way or anther, did not leave anyone indifferent. 

Claudio Sgura returns to Italy after his great success at the Royal Opera House in London with his Scarpia, for four of the eight performance of this series of Tosca in Bologna. The imposing stature of the singer definitely helps in the incarnation of such a character,  yet it’s amazing how such a sympathetic performer can turn on stage in the cynical and cruel baron Scarpia! Due to his great experience with this character, each and every phrase has the right tension, the right colour, the performer knowing exactly the score’s requirements and not neglecting also De Ana’s suggestions – and the voice effortlessly follows the desire of his master!

Noteworthy is also Nicolò Ceriani and his Sagrestano: the right timbre, impressive volume, healthy technique and, above all, musical intelligence following the sense of the word and the scenic action. Christian Barone was a credible Angelotti, while Bruno Lazzareti portrayed very well his Spoletta, between cynicism and fear 

The cast was completed both on the January 29th and February 1st by Tong Liu’s Sciarrone, Raffaele Costantini’s Carceriere, apart from Pastorello which was performed by Francesca Pucci.

There was a fine performance by the Orchestra and Choir of the Teatro Comunale, the latter prepare by Gea Garatti Ansini, and a good performance by the Coro delle Voci Bianche under the direction of Alhambra Superchi. 

Tosca will always enchant. For the premiere, the hall of Teatro Comunale was almost sold out. The audience was so enthusiastic to get back to the theater, closer and closer to how it was before the COVID-19 pandemic, except for the face masks. The voices were there, the staging, more than decent, respecting almost completely the libretto, the desire of the audience was at its highest level: results into a successful opening night for the 2022 opera season of Teatro Comunale di Bologna.

Alice Lechner

Alice Lechner comes from a music-loving family. Her first encounter with the opera universe was at the tender age of six. The grandeur of the stage productions and costumes, the backstage chatter, and last, but definitely not least, the music left her in awe, beginning with Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The overall feeling that opera awakens in anyone who gets a glimpse into this part of artistic eternity, that each and every day passes the test of time, was what drew her to stay and be a part of this world. The Opera House of Brașov became her second home, and the people who worked there were her second family.

Since then, Alice has devoted her spare time to maximising her musical knowledge through instrumental studies, studying both piano and violin for a short time. In the following years, her number one passion stepped out of the limelight and graciously gave way to Law Studies.
Since 2018 she has been studying Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Her passion for opera, even if it is no longer her top professional priority in terms of career, it has most definitely become her priority during her free time. Wanting to experience the best of both worlds and extend her musical horizons, she regularly attends opera performances throughout Romania and abroad.
With OPERA Charm Magazine, Alice aims to nurture her creative side to help it flourish and bloom and to discover, alongside the magazine’s readers, the fascinatingly complex world of opera.

Currently, she is an LL.M. in Business Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Oana Zamfir

Oana Zamfir is a second year MA student at the “George Enescu” National University of Arts, at the Department of Musicology.

She studied violin for 12 years at the “Stefan Luchian” High School of Art in Botosani, later focusing on the theoretical aspects of music. In 2019 she completed her bachelor studies in Musicology as a student of the National Academy of Music “Gheorghe Dima” in Cluj-Napoca. Her research during 2018-2019 brought to the forefront elements of the archaic ritual within works of composers who activated during the communist period, giving her the opportunity to start a research internship at the “Carl von Ossietzky” University in Germany. In this context, she recorded conversations with members of the Sophie Drinker Institute in Bremen, and had access to documents directly from the Myriam Marbé archive.

Since 2019 she has been a teacher of Music Education and Theoretical Music Studies, making full use of interactive methods in the musical training of students and working, at the same time, with the children’s choir founded in the first year of her activity.

Her interests include pursuing a degree in interior design in 2020.

Alexandru Suciu

Alexandru Suciu inherited his passion for art growing up in a family of several generations of musicians. He began his musical studies at the “Augustin Bena” School of Music in Cluj, where he studied piano and guitar. Even though his main study direction was philological, his passion for music prevailed. He began his academical journey at the Faculty of Letters of the “Babeș-Bolyai” University, studying Comparative literature and English. He continued by studying Opera Singing at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy. He also graduated the Musical Education section, followed by Artistic Directing at the Musical Performing Arts department.

His multidisciplinary education opened the doors towards research, which is seen both through his participation in national and international conferences and symposia, such as the Salzburg Easter School PhD-forum, organized by the Salzburg Universität or the Silesian Meeting of Young Scholars, organized by the Institute of English at the University of Silesia, as well as the collaboration with Opera Charm Magazine.

During his student years, he won several prizes, including the Grand Prize at the “Paul Constantinescu” National Musical Interpretation Competition, the Romanian Composers and Musicologists’ Union Prize at the same competition, the First Prize and the Schubert Prize at the “Ada Ulubeanu” Competition.

He further developed his artistic skills by specializing in courses and masterclasses held by personalities such as Vittorio Terranova, Giuseppe Sabbatini, Marian Pop, Ines Salazar, Riccardo Zanellato, Paolo Bosisio, Valentina Farcaș and Manuel Lange in contexts such as the Internationale Sommerakademie für Operngesang Deutschlandsberg, Corso Internazionale di Canto Lirico I.M.C. Licata or the Europäische Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst Montepulciano. Besides his activity on-stage, he currently teaches Opera Singing Didactics, and Pedagogical Practice within the Department for Teacher Education and Training at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy.

Cristina Fieraru

Cristina is a 24 year-old Romanian soprano & a student at the National University of Music Bucharest, where she pursues the MA program in Vocal Performance.

She made her debut in Pamina from “Die Zauberflöte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at only 19 years old at the Bucharest National Opera House, as a member of the Ludovic Spiess Experimental Opera Studio. Over the years she made her debut in roles such as Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Mimì & Musetta (La Bohème), Alice Ford (Falstaff), Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) in her university’s opera productions.
Her passion and experience extends in the field of choral music, too.

She has been part of our dream team since the fall of 2021. For a good period of time she took care of OPERA Charm’s social media and took you on the monthly journey through the history of opera through our Legends rubric – and a few times through the Theaters around the World rubric.

Her little soul rubric – from 2021 to present – is definitely the Conductors of the Future, where, every month, she gives you the chance to meet a young star of the world of conducting and, of course, to find out what’s the most charming feature of opera in these artists’ views.


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