Madison Opera Demonstrates Exactly What Great Opera Is All About
Madison Magazine | By Greg Hettmansberger
If you’ve never been sure that you really ever understood what opera is all about, all you need to do is get to the Overture Center Sunday afternoon and watch Madison Opera present Puccini’s Tosca, and at the final curtain you’ll know exactly what all the shouting is about. Chances are pretty good you’ll even let loose with a “bravo” or two, because nearly everyone involved in this riveting production deserves one. In fact, the only problem in writing this review is the risk of omitting a contribution worth singling out. Let’s start with the easy stuff: the gorgeous sets and costumes come courtesy of Seattle Opera, which means that Madison has a company healthy enough to invest in that kind of rental, and enjoys a space like Overture Hall in which to employ them. The heart of the matter though, is singing; if you don’t have persuasive voices, the prettiest stage and the greatest orchestra are crippled. No worries: Melody Moore in the title role delivers on all the hype that resulted when she stepped in as Tosca on opening night (beginning with Act 2 no less!) at the San Francisco Opera almost exactly one year ago. That central act contains the diva’s “big hit,” “Vissi d’arte,” and Moore reaped as prolonged an ovation Friday night as I’ve heard at Madison Opera. But better still was her ability to deliver two kinds of chemistry: the jealously unstable but passionate love for Cavaradossi, and the flip side, a skin-crawling revulsion for Scarpia, as dark a villain as inhabits the operatic hall of shame.