Tosca, the a famous story of an opera diva, her painter lover Cavaradossi, and the toxic, predatory villain Scarpia. Rome under the thumb of Holy Roman Empire. The plot happens just before Napoleon’s forces achieve military victory over the suffocating regime represented here by Scarpia. Tosca’s lover Cavaradossi is on the Napoleon’s side, hides a friend who has escaped prison. For this Scarpia imprisons him asking Tosca to be his, if she wants to see Cavaradossi free.
We learn about Tosca’s character even before we see her. Cavaradossi sings about her jealousy and reveals that he loves her for her external beauty and is excited by her big brown eyes and even bigger emotions and passion. Scarpia, on the other hand is excited by the conquest; women are prey, once lured in, raped, then discarded.
Puccini’s beautiful, passionate and intense music accompanies the drama on stage. All three characters find death. Tosca agrees to Scarpia’s vile demand, as he promises not to execute her lover. But before anything happens, she kills Scarpia. Cavaradossi is condemned to death because of loyalty to his friend. But before he dies all he holds precious in life is his love for Tosca. The Diva is now a murderer out of self-defence and to protect her lover. When he is executed, in a desperate state, she kills herself.
Tosca has a strong character, constantly evolving, brave and full of integrity. She knows what she wants and how she wants it. She is aware of what makes her happy and has a strong moral compass. She is also a little naïve and too trusting. Tosca is not perfect and has her weaknesses – jealousy is one of them. In the opera, Tosca finds balance to a life of emotional extremes through religious devotion.
I love singing this role and will sing it anytime from now on. It lies comfortably in my voice and I love the changes that Tosca is going though during the opera. Besides – I love acting a real Operatic Diva on stage – proud, self aware, goddess like, grounded and knowing her worth.
I feel so grateful and blessed that I got to sing 7 concerts at the Albert Hall with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and John Rigby conducting and of course the fantastic Raymond Gubbay team. What a joyful and moving experience, especially when dedications were made in support of Ukraine, by the lighting designers and the conductor. I got to wear a dress designed especially for this occasion by @Daniel Dioguardi in the colours of Ukrainian flag. I sang for 40,000 people, fearlessly belted out 7 top E flats in ‘Sempre libera’ and remembered all the verses of Rule Britannia – an experience I would want to repeat any time soon.
Every tree was once a seed and so the journey of Hadley woods Festival – Music on Jack’s Lake begins. One of the deep realisations that I have come to in the Pandemic is that we never know what might happen tomorrow or even in the next moment. I knew this in my head, but living through Covid lockdowns, cancelled work, so much illness, fear and suffering around made me fully understand it. Which is why I have decided to act upon an idea that had been brewing in my mind and without delay start a music festival next to a beautiful lake in Barnet/Cockfosters. This combination of water, woods, music and people coming together is unique and has an X factor. I feel very proud of the first concert and I am excited for this dream to start growing roots in the years to come.