Snarl me a Scarpia

Snarl me a Scarpia


norman lebrecht

February 12, 2018

Gerald Finley shows how it’s done.

‘It can take 100 to 150 times of repetition to absorb it in my mind, and in muscle memory.’


  • Mike Schachter says:

    He just isn’t nasty enough to be Scarpia, like Keenlyside not being Don Giovanni. Can’t be helped.

    • Robin Worth says:

      Actually, you are wrong

      He is a versatile performer, and if you had seen him at the ROH recently you would not embarrass yourself by making so crass a comment

      • Una says:

        He was just fantastic when I saw him close up in the cinema in the north of England for the live relay last week. He was absolutely three dimensional and remembered also that Scarpia is also nobility – a Baron – and yet had that demented look about him that added to something more than the usual bouncer-type thug of a character. And superb singing too.

      • Mike Schachter says:

        I did see him and have a different opinion. People used to be able to disagree without childish insults.

      • G J Anderson says:

        Sorry, but I did see Tosca at the ROH in January 2018. I’d been really looking forward to it, only to leave totally underwhelmed and that was entirely down to Finley’s Scarpia. Perhaps I’d appreciate his interpretation more on hearing it again, knowing what to expect, or even what not to expect.

    • Una says:

      Mike, I think you have missed the whole point of his interpretation. Such a pity you didn’t appreciate the different slant on Scarpia when you saw the opera.

      Also the clip here that Norma has put on was shown to us in the cinema. Nothing like what happened in the real performance, and he had long flying hair that changed teh character completely into what I can only call a demented, lustful Scarpia.

    • Nik says:

      Agree with you Mike. I’m a huge fan of Finley’s but his Scarpia for me lacked impact vocally and dramatically. Una, it’s possible he came across better in the cinema.

  • Zelda Macnamara says:

    He is a wonderful singer and was really great in the ROH production – but didn’t have the menacing elegance of some of his predecessors, e.g. Raimondi. He is such a versatile singer – when I saw him (again in the cinema) as Hans Sachs, he was fantastic. He can cearly turn his art to any challenge.