Truthfully, I was not sure what I would think of this performance. I had never attended an opera before, so having the opportunity to see this production live was an entirely new experience for me. I was aware that operas are known for their extremely dramatic style and theatrics. As result, I was worried that perhaps its style would throw me off and taint the experience for me. I was wrong.
I remember walking into the Metropolitan Opera House and being instantly dazzled by it. As you walk in, there are lovely golden, snowflake-like chandeliers that dangle from the ceiling. The walls and steps are covered with red velvet that cushions every step you take. Everything is ornamented in colors of gold, silver and red. It was both elegant and striking. The concert area itself was just as striking. From the ceiling, hanged a beautiful sphere chandelier that glittered in the light. As much as I loved the elegance and style of the Opera House, I also fell in love with the opera itself.
Tosca, is a rather complex opera that deals with the concepts of betrayal, extreme passion and an infinite love. It is also one of the very few operas in which the storyline is tied to a specific time and place, Rome on June 17, 1800. I thought that it was interesting to see the opera set in this time period. Considering that the man who wrote the opera, Giacomo Puccini, was Italian, one would think that having a play with the main characters being supporters of Napoleon rule would be a distasteful topic. However, Puccini welcomed this storyline and concept.
I would have to say that my favorite thing about the opera was Mario’s aria that took place in the last act as he was contemplating his death. I felt that it was a very beautiful and touching performance. I also feel that it was this aria that made me love the opera. There was just so much raw emotion portrayed in that scene and I was actually able to feel that emotion. I don’t get emotionally when watching things like television shows or movies, but I did feel something during this performance that made my eyes water up. I think that the music had a lot to do with the pull on my emotions. In the beginning of the piece, Cavaradossi sings softly with a solo clarinet tune accompanying him. The sound of the single clarinet almost emphasizes the aria’s melancholy sound. As it continues, the single clarinet becomes accompanied by strings such as the violin, double bass and the harp. Cavaradossi’s voice also slowly rises to a louder dynamic becoming fuller and denser, matching the melody of the instrumentation. This gradual rise in dynamics almost mimics Cavaradossi’s oncoming wave of despair and his realization that he is about to die. His aria toys with the concept of life and the realization of the things that you took for granted while you were alive. It was very touching.
I hope that I will be awarded the opportunity to see another opera again.