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Watch: How do you play one of opera's greatest villains?

Canadian bass-baritone Gerald Finley reveals how he gets into character, playing Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

11 February 2018 at 8.34pm | 1 Comment

Appearing charming, yet ultimately being manipulative: performing the character of Baron Scarpia is something of a workout for a singer's emotions.

Baritone Gerald Finley shared his preparation for the role as he geared up to perform in the cinema relay of Puccini's Tosca.

'In here is a role which every baritone dreams of doing', he said. 'I can listen to these three opening chords and get an image of what I might be as Scarpia'.

The role makes full use of his acting talents, requiring a level of authority, control, and an impressive stage presence; and the music, with many phrases on just one pitch, offers very few places to hide.

'It's a very strong indication by Puccini that there's lots to be got out of the text, rather than the music', Finley explains.

'I'm going to take every moment that I can, musically, out of this score, with the coaches, with the directors of music, and I'm going to make it my Scarpia.'

Watch more films like this on the Royal Opera House YouTube channel:

Tosca runs until 3 March. Tickets are now sold out, although returns may become available.

The performance is staged with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, Aud Jebsen, Rena and Sandro Lavery, The Mikheev Charitable Trust and Mr and Mrs Christopher W.T. Johnston.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

11 February 2018 at 8.34pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged broadcast, by Jonathan Kent, cinema, Gerald Finley, Production, Puccini, Tosca

This article has 1 comment

  1. Nichola Kirkwood responded on 20 February 2018 at 6:13pm Reply

    Probably one of the best Scarpia's I have seen - wonderfully acted - Gerald Finlay's hard work getting into the role certainly paid dividends.

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