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Orpheus 11/1981


Tosca Berlin - 25.8.81

English translation Heidi Hochstein

The first days by the new manager and artistic director Goetz Friedrich produced amazing things already. Instead of the hotly awaited West Berlin debut by Anna Tomowa-Sintow, an event happened on August 25 that caught the breath of Berlin opera friends: on short notice, one of the most thought-after primadonnas of our time replaced the Bulgarian, who had cancelled, as Tosca: MONTSERRAT CABALLE. This was also a debut at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Think about it!  Showered with entrance applause, the well-paid Spaniard sailed through the first act with allure and vocal brilliance that both listening and watching were a pleasure.


With INGVAR WIXELL pulling out all the stops as a powerful, elegant Scarpia, she offered a second act that made her all the way the picture of a primadonna assoluta, so much though, that one could not seperate Caballe from Tosca. And part of that was the jump from the Engelsburg that did not happen and ended on the left side of the street.


As the third one in the trio, JOSE CARRERAS was an affectionate Cavaradossi, brilliant in voice and performance. JESUS LOPEZ COBOS, who cleaned up the finale of act one from decades of sloppy scores and therefore was able to bring it to new meaning (with the "Te Deum" choir without orchestra, only with organ, Scarpia's crescendo finally made an audible impact), did not put up with the usual "Tosca" imperfections but uncovered the nuances of Puccini's compositions sensitively and therefore gave the singers a precise singing basis. At the end, the ovations got very heated, as it was not felt here in a long time.