countdown boutiques-francophones Learn more scflyout Home All-New Kindle Music Deals Store sports Tools

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: DVD|Change
Price:$24.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on December 10, 2002
Needless to say that the star is Raina Kabaivanska, a beautiful, graceful Tosca, whose soprano is very expressive - a voice that can be glorious and tender as well. She sings high pianissimo beautifully and her trills are brilliant in "Vissi d'arte". In contrast to other's acting, her acting is full of details and subtleties, dramatizing a proud, fiery, and willing-to-die-for-love Tosca wonderfully. Domingo's approach to Cavaradossi is heroic, poetic, and quite attentive. His voice is silvery; he looks virile, although a bit too wide his girth for a young Cavaradossi. "Recondita armonia" is sung with passion and graceful turns. In "E lucevan le stelle" he conveys the farewell to life with deep emotions and climaxes the aria in a wonderful outburst of "E non ho amato mai tanto la vita". Sherrill Milnes sings Scarpia with a powerful baritone, only if he could add some varieties in reflecting the character's human side, other than just evil. Also, did he really need that ugly unnatural-looking nose?
The film was exquisitely made, from the interior of the grand chapel to the crystals on Scarpia's dining table, everything was carefully chosen. Adding the effect of performing on locations where the story actually took place, this surely is an epic production of Tosca.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 11, 2002
This was beautifully filmed and wonderfully performed. Unfortunately, I would not recommend this to anyone because when they mixed it, the orchestra came out much, much louder than the singers. Consequently, to hear the singers clearly, you have to play it back at a volume level that I found almost deafening. Compared to the playback settings for all my other opera DVDs, I must make major volume adjustments in order to play this one back. And I never do find a satisfying level. With regret, I would not recommend this DVD solely for that reason. Otherwise, like I say, it was great.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 25, 2001
In 1976, Gianfranco de Bosio shot this film in locations in Rome. Many may think that the style here is a bit exaggerated, with strong colours and sterotypic gestures from the actors - but I think that all that is part of the right aesthetics of what is in origine grand-guignol. The fact that we are watching the actual places where the event of the story take place is also very endearing and Bartoletti, aided by the excellent New Philharmonia Orchestra, gives a competent account of Puccini's score. However, the main interest here is that the incredibly neglected Raina Kabaivanska is taking the title role. Not only she is in excellent voice and copes with the extreme difficulties of the role with no effort, but also it is a sensational voice - uniquely bright and powerful with unbelievably floating pianissimi, while also dealing with the most outspoken moments with good taste and dramatic engagement. She also looks gorgeous. Domingo is also in fresh and young voice - he's only a bit chubby here. Milnes, as the rest of the team, is in great voice and goes for a totally evil Scarpia, with a made-up nose that makes him look quite mean!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 3, 2000
I'd never experienced opera before seeing this treatment of Tosca, more years ago than I like to think, on PBS. I was captivated. Tosca remains my favorite opera ever -- and this version of it is still my favorite, even after the many I've seen subsequently. Yes, the scenery is terrific, Domingo and Kabaivanska are polished and effective... but for me, the most exciting performance was delivered by Milnes. Unlike every Scarpia I've seen subsequently (all of whom played the police chief as an aging roué who's been-there-done-that and come out the worse for wear), Milnes plays him as a man in his prime, with animal appetites and amorality -- a Scarpia who /does/ have attraction and power, and Tosca must fight with herself and her love for Cavaradossi to resist him. She wants him, though she knows she shouldn't, that he'll use her up and throw her away like his empty wineglass. That's an interpretation I've never seen anywhere else. I'd only be happier if it were a DVD...
Wrote this review in October of 2000, and as of 2 Apr 2002: Oo! Hooray, lookit that! It /is/ a DVD! I am /so/ all over that action. :)
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 1, 2003
This production will seize you and not let you go; it is so powerful. The inate dramatic intensity that is "Tosca" is successfully transferred into this actual full-fledged film. I think this is achieved in part through its filming at the actual sites in Rome where the story takes place, using costumes and props as the people would actually have had in Rome around 1800. There is little, if any, fledgling experimental interpretation here. Everything has been carefully crafted, as if the audience member watching the production were thrown into exactly how Puccini would have imagined it, if one could make such a claim.
Placido Domingo's performance is as to be expected. We find him here at the very height of his career, full of youthful splendor: a seemingly effortless, yet brilliant delivery. Kabaivanska commands a quite compelling role of Tosca, as well. Although I've watched this production a countless number of times, I still say "wow" every time she finishes the very much underrated withing operatic criticism, in my opinion, aria "Vissi d'arte" in the second act. Stronger performances of Tosca's vocal part can be heard on other recordings, though. Try anything with Kiri Tekanawa, for instance, who sings with much more of the dark resonance that is Tosca. However, the real catcher is that of Scarpia with Milnes performing. Scarpia actually is a very demanding role, especially for a baritone, a fact not really widely accepted. But Milnes really shines in his role and, I think, makes the most striking impression of the three leads.
Flaws with this production include the relatively poor video quality. Yes, it's true that there are constant white spots that show up on the screen throughout the piece. The final scene also can be a little disappointing. The soldiers do not march in step, although they try to, and this clutter can distract from the ultimate emotional climax that Puccini achieves here. The orchestra also does not play together in the final echo of the flagship theme of the opera, which makes the whole opera come to an unsteady close. These are nevertheless details, and probably wouldn't be noticed the during the first few viewings.
All in all, I would definitely recommend buying this production because overall it very much achieves the quintessential dramatic splendor of Tosca and is thus worth owning your own copy to view over and over again.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 6, 2002
I agree with the other reviewers here who have praised the performances of Kabaivanska, Domingo, and Milnes. All three sing well and are convincing as actors. Shooting the opera on location is effective and adds to the dramatic power.
The DVD transfer, however, is not the best I have seen. There are frequent white spots and "dirt", as well as places where the picture seems to skip a frame or two. Considering the relatively recent date of the original filming, it is hard to believe that the DVD transfer came from the best source available. I have a DVD of Furtwangler's "Don Giovanni" which was filmed in 1954, and the transfer is much cleaner than this.
However, the sound is excellent, with the wide dynamic range one would expect from a DVD, and the slightly substandard video quality is not enough to give this anything less than a full 5-star rating.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 28, 2002
I think I have seen Tosca more than 10 times, including a performanece by the ultimate Scarpia Tito Gobbi. However, no performance carries the absolute dramatic experience of this production in the actual scenery where the opera scenes are taking place. From the barroque interior of the the Barberini Chapel in the church of Sant'Andrea della Valle, to the ornate room of Scarpia at the Palazzo Farnese, to Hadrian's mausoleum (Castel Sant'Angelo), this film follows the action all over Rome. A magnificent performance by a young and expressive Domingo, a dramatic and powerful Kabaibanska and the forceful ultra-evil portrayal of Scarpia by Milnes, and the magnificent prodution, make this my favorite opera in film.
A must in any serious opera collection.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 7, 1999
Raina Kabaivanska is surely a composer's dream. She not only sings Tosca; for a couple of hours, she IS Tosca. Her voice is glorious and she is an actress of the first magnitude. Add to those enviable qualities, she is beautiful to look at and moves with extraordinary grace. She and Placido Domingo (Mario) are superb together. Raina Kabaivanska is stellar. Any opera lover must have this video. One never tires of its beauty. For the scholar, this is the definitive verisma in all its purity. No other Tosca rises to such heights of excellence! G.K. Brown, DMA Prof. of Music (Ret.)
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 20, 1999
Raina Kabaivanska's interpretation of Tosca as preserved in this thrilling video cannot be over praised. It's her own interpretation too. Completely original, there is a rare quality about this great singing actress that makes me wonder why she was so under used by recording companies. Raina Kabaivanska offers a definitive interpretation of Tosca. This is a must for any opera collector.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 3, 2013
Beautiful setting - historically accurate. Marvellous singers and gorgeous costumes and sets!

A young powerful Domingo in signature role for him. Spectacular!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse