The New York City Opera rose from the dead on Wednesday with a performance of “Tosca” at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater that felt like a historical re-enactment in more ways than one. “Tosca” was City Opera’s inaugural title in 1944; the sets and costumes for this 2016 production were based on sketches by Adolf Hohenstein for the opera’s Rome premiere in 1900. I’m all for historically informed performance, but this one seemed to be yearning for a time that is gone forever.
Earlier this month, NYCO Renaissance—led by Roy Niederhoffer, a former NYCO board member, and Michael Capasso, general director of the defunct Dicapo Opera Theatre—finally won its two-year court battle to resurrect City Opera, which declared bankruptcy in 2013. Part of Mr. Capasso’s artistic plan for the company is period, representational productions of core repertory operas, thereby striking a blow for tradition in an era when theatrical rethinking and updating of these works has become the norm rather than the exception. The idea is supposedly to allow opera novices to see these works set in their original time periods and to please veteran fans who want their classics unadulterated, including those who found Luc Bondy’s rather tame “Tosca” at the Metropolitan Opera impossibly avant-garde.
‘Tosca’ Review: Operatic Revival—or Exhumation? – WSJ