Although I wouldn’t say that she is my end all be all favorite Tosca (I’m a sucker for Callas, and Price could never ever seem overrated to me) there are a few things about this performance that really just captivate me. I think she is one of the few singers active today that really uses colors. She understands that parts of this aria require a sorrowful, weeping quality, and though it may not result in the most perfectly balanced and agreeable sound (it is still very beautiful, but objectively it is a little too narrow and loses a bit of its warmth, but it gets the point across, and we have the entire rest of the opera to hear her perfect, balanced, consistent singing, anyway) but it makes the aria that much more human, and the audience is able to really understand what she is feeling. This is evident at 2:00 until about 2:15.
I also love that she colors other parts of the aria with a nostalgic sort of hope, letting us see a bit of the happy future she had planned for herself that is now majorly in jeopardy. At 1:09 we see her unfold herself a bit off the couch and look up (this goes perfectly with the music, she has done a really lovely job of putting a spotlight on Puccini’s most genius moments) and her voice takes on a happy, bright, sighing quality and though she doesn’t exactly smile, she looks so in love with whatever she is envisioning. It makes us want a happy ending so badly! Seeing a glimpse of the happiness she has lost makes the end of the opera that much more heartbreaking.
I love the way she takes her cues from the music, and the way her voice, face, and body are all equally involved in her acting.
Beautiful, natural, honest, organic. Everything I want to hear from a Tosca!