The emphasis then, was on putting on a good show, and a good show it was - an encouraging example of opera at the New Theatre. The cast both sang and acted ably, with two particularly arresting arias commanding hushed attention and cries of 'Bravo!'. Puccini's music was always shifting and inventive, swelling into an impressive slow march during the finale of Act 1 as Scarpia articulated his dastardly plans.
All three acts were short and involving, punctuated by generous interval time to cleanse the palate. Kent aimed for each set to be like a painting coming to life, and in that she succeeded, in both the set design and the positioning of people upon it. Tosca herself wore a striking red dress, ensuring she was at the foreground of these paintings.Sadly, the promised golden eagle didn't join the stage; instead falling back on the asterisked clause in the publicity material that it would only appear at certain venues. Unsubstantiated rumours from the green room suggest it got a little carried away during celebrations after the opening night, precipitating an existential crisis and a sustained bout of stagefright.
Overall though, a performance that I quite consciously enjoyed, which, while stopping before profundity, told its simple story absorbingly, with some beautiful singing setpieces and lush orchestral music that I was grateful to let wash over me.