Tosca, one of Puccini’s most intimate and tear-jerking operas, was hardly suitable for the grandiose venue of the Opera Festival at Masada.
Unlike previous Masada productions, however, Nicolas Joel’s direction and Emmanuelle Favre’s sets abstained from camels, horses and other multi-legged attractions, and concentrated on modest, minimalist staging in refined taste, distributing the choir asymmetrically all over the stage in crowd scenes. Tosca’s moving the candle holder to sanctify Scarpia’s murdered body, though, bordered on kitsch.
Among the singers, Sergei Murzaev was the Scarpia of one’s dreams. His dark-timbred baritone, forceful expression, stylized brutality and menacing intonation were the perfect personification of evil. His monologue in Act 1 was one of the performance’s highlights.