Words cannot describe what it felt like to sing as Cavaradossi in a theatre which is close to my heart: the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino under conductor Zubin Mehta, who celebrated his 85th birthday in this way. Our Tosca was a concert performance and I have to say that, since this is a significant score amongst Maestro Mehta’s aesthetic and interpretative choices, the lack of scenery highlighted the orchestration and the Maestro’s ability to find ever new colours and musical solutions in this incredibly 20th century opera. I think it is important not to be integralist when it comes to giving concert performances of operas, always saying yes or no. There are operas and occasions which can benefit from a performance in which the music stands out prominently in the foreground.
There was just one performance in Florence, on 19th May. I’d like to thank the Florentine audience, who called for an encore of “E lucevan le stelle”. I see it as a great honour for me and a further tribute to the Maestro. At the end, all of us and the audience celebrated him with interminable applause and lots of chocolate (of which we know he is very, very fond!).