The director Giorgio Barberio Corsetti has moved the action of this Tosca, which opens this years Maggio Musciale festival in Florence, to the 1960s, giving rise to inconsistencies such as the references to Napoleon but the modern costumes and furnishings. Sometimes considerable attention is paid to detail in the recitation but at other times it is banal and sloppy. Even the music suffers from this uncertainty and confusion. The interpretation of conductor Zubin Metha is less sensual and passionate than a few years ago, and although it is more modern, the atmosphere created by the orchestra is dissonant, cold and full of anxiety. Beside these new aspects, some of which are certainly beautiful, there are also other more conventional parts. Violeta Urmana, who plays Tosca for the first time, sings well and manages the more emotional moments bravely and the lyrical ones with sweetness, but she never breaks new ground and ends by repeating old interpretations. Nor does Marcus Haddock, who sings decently enough, add anything new to the usual interpretation of Cavaradossi. Ruggero Raimondis voice is now tired and much used and this is reflected in his interpretation of Barone Scarpita. The audience at the performance on 15 May indicated that the performance was a success but without much enthusiasm.

Tosca continues at the Teatro Comunale, Florence until 21 May.

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