Today was Opera Day on the trip: with two friends, I attended the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Tosca. I agree with those who said the music is gorgeous and the production isn't. To be Texas blunt, the set in the second act is butt-ugly, the courtesans weren't in the libretto and aren't needed to show Scarpia's nasty character, the lighting design lacks (overall, not just in the second act) and the blocking isn't that great either. The sets in one and three are sort of OK except the trapdoor thing that the firing squad disappears into. (It evoked a chuckle from the audience.)
But the singing. O.M.G. it was stunning. Karita Mattila (Finnish) sang a ferocious Tosca--all passion, all brilliance. Breathtaking, literally. Marcelo Alvarez (Argentinian) sang a Cavaradossi to rip your heart out as well...a thoroughly masculine tenor, rich and powerful and still capable of ringing high notes. George Gagnidze (Republic of Georgia) made a superb slimy and disgusting Scarpia.
I knew attending an opera at a great opera house with a great company would be different/better, but this...this was incredible.