ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA
SET DESIGN | Frank Philip Schlössmann
COSTUME DESIGN | Gideon Davey
LIGHTING DESIGN | David Martin Jacques
CONDUCTOR | Stephen Lord
CAST | Claire Rutter | Gwyn Hughes-Jones | Anthony Michaels-Moore | Matthew Hargreaves | Henry Waddington
Opera | Amanda Holloway | February 2012
"I mean no disrespect to Catherine Malfitano's staging of Tosca when I say that the end was the best bit. Even though we all knew what was coming, there was still a collective gasp of horror when Tosca rushed towards the parapet and plunged into the yawning sky. Sudden, brutal, brilliantly staged, it left the audience speachless. ...During her own period as a notable Tosca, Malfitano must have encountered a variety of stagings, from the inspired to the downright perverse. She has distilled the best of her experiences; the result is a production for ENO that will keep audiences coming back for more."
Operatoday.com | Mark Berry | November 2011
"The swift return to the coliseum of Catherine Malfitano's production of Tosca, premiered in 2010, contrasts strongly with the increasingly disposable nature of many recent ENO productions. Malfitano's staging makes a refreshing change both from the likes of the floundering first-time spoken theatre and film directors often recently engaged by the company, and from the ludicrous, dramatically-null vulgarity of the Zeffirelli brigade. It doubtless helps to have someone at the directorial helm who knows the work from the inside, having sung the title-role a good many times herself."
Express.co.uk | William Hartston | November 2011
"In July, I saw Tosca at the Royal Opera House..., and thought that any future performance of the opera that I was lucky enough to see would suffer by comparison. I was wrong. [At the ENO, the] acting was at least as good, their commitment was total, and alongside the energy of Stephen Lord's conduction (sic) and the inspired direction from Catherine Malfitano, this is truly a great evening's entertainment and a production to relish."
The Telegraph | Igor Torony-Lalic | December 2011
"Catherine Malfitano, once a wonderful Tosca herself, delivered the company a smash hit with her traditional but truthful portrayal of the greatest of doomed operatic divas. ...There was nothing but truth and intensity in the love scenes. Malfitano refrains from any crude groping. [Her] production is a definite keeper. Opera really is often best left to those who know something about it."
Opera Brittania | Mark Pullinger | November 2011
"This was as successful a revival as I can remember at ENO in that the production seems to have improved and the central performances were better sung."
Mark Ronan's Theatre Reviews | November 2011
"Catherine Malfitano's production of Tosca opens with a bang, not just from the excellent conducting of Stephen Lord, but the sudden appearance of the escaped prisoner Angelotti, centre stage at the rear of the church. He turns and flies forward, a dramatic move that sets the scene for this most theatrical of operas. ...After Cavaradossi lies dead, Tosca throws herself backwards over the parapet, and the curtain closes on a terrific production."
MusicalCriticism.com | Liam Cagney | November 2011
"The chief strength of Malfitano's production is that it brings out and explores the... purely operatic elements of Tosca. We are thankfully spared a relocating of the action to a post-apocalyptic, dystopian future, or some such snazzy concept. Instead, in Malfitano's focusing on Tosca as Tosca, everything, to paraphrase William Blake, appears as it truly is - exaggerated. Characters and costumes, mise-en-scene and music: all, as they should be, are larger than life and fused together into a colorful, concentrated whole."
theartsdesk.com | David Nice | November 2011
"Catherine Malfitano's take on the best if most overdone Italian operatic thriller in the repertoire makes potentially outlandish melodrama believable. [Her] staging...presents every dramatic turn of the screw in Scarpia's awful bargaining with a helpless woman as plausible, so that the twist of the knife comes to seem inevitable. Even if you've become used to the...much less perceptive Royal Opera staging, you shouldn't be disappointed by this."
classicalsource.com | Mark Valencia | November 2011
"[Malfitano's] work has insight, confidence and style."
Evening Standard | Barry Millington | November 2011
"A celebrated exponent of the title role herself, Catherine Malfitano brought unique insights to her new Tosca last year. Supervising the revival herself, she has sharpened the stage action even further, in conjunction with Stephen Lord's powerfully driven conducting, creating a truly visceral impact. ...Details are brilliantly captured in Malfitano's staging, which teems with original ideas. With [Claire] Rutter in terrific form, musical and dramatic elements cohere in one of the most gripping Toscas seen in London for many a year."
The Times | Hilary Finch | November 2011
"...Malfitano, a great Tosca in her time, knows the inner heart of the woman and directs [Claire] Rutter with meticulous perception. Observant details such as the silver flash of the knife as [Scarpia] opens the military dispatch add...to the nervous frissons of this act."
Home Journal | David Ladds | December 2011
"Emotions run high at the ENO's latest revival of Puccini's classic opera. ...[Where] this production really succeeds is its ability to draw you into the emotions and interactions of the main characters."