Tosca opens in Sydney this week.
Its director, John Bell, explains his relocation of the opera to Rome, 1943:
”It’s a pretty severe sort of fascist office block,” he says. ”It’s actually based on the Milan Railway Station and it’s all in green and grey marble with great swastikas on the wall so it’s a bit confronting.”
The prison ”has a whiff of Auschwitz about it”. ”There were over a thousand Jews who were deported from Rome to Auschwitz and we wanted to reference that in the third act so it’s not a glamorous setting at all.”
”It struck me that what happened in Rome in 1943 is very, very similar to the story of Tosca,” Bell says.
”We may find some adverse reactions,” Bell says. ”We might find some people unsettled by that but I think mostly people will approve because it does show the Nazis, the fascists in a bad light.” (So that’s all right, then.)
Nothing new under the sun. The same soggy, amoral concept was presented at Lausanne, Switzerland (above), earlier this year. But we guess they never heard about it at Opera Australia. Or about the fury in Düsseldorf at an excess of Nazi imagery.
In fact, we guess they haven’t heard about very much at all at Lydon Terracini’s Opera Australia.