This week sees Puccini’s opera TOSCA performed by a mostly Pretoria based cast, at the South African State Theatre’s Opera Theatre, with music performed by the Pretoria Symphony Orchestra. It was a lovely experience for me to see an opera in the venue in which I saw my first ever opera as a scholar in high school.
This 117 year old opera is a tale of politics, love, murder, deceit and betrayal. The story gets off to a slow start, and although the operatic singing in the first act was well done, the performances were lacking in terms of expression and didn’t really bring the characters to life. The orchestra, under the baton of Gerben Grooten, on the other hand stole the first act, in fact, stole the entire show. As the show progressed to the second and third acts, both the story and the singers became more animated and they certainly redeemed themselves.
On the whole, the Sunday afternoon matinee audience thoroughly enjoyed the show and showed their love and appreciation during the curtain call with the throwing of flowers and cheers and whistles for Pretoria based diva Loveline Madumo who gave a really impressive performance as Floria Tosca, and her co-star Markus Ahme who sang Mario Cavaradossi.
Overall a great performance, made difficult for some audience members who were not familiar with the story, by a technical fault which prevented the surtitles from being provided.
The opera has only four performances in this run, and ends on Sunday 28 May 2017. The Thursday evening performance has been cancelled leaving only Friday and Sunday performances this weekend.