Last evening I had the joy of seeing Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera. The met has a wonderful rush tickets program where they sell a limited number of orchestra seats for only 25 dollars performance day. During intermission I scrambled 6 stories up to take a pic looking down at the curtain from the Family Circle balcony cheap seats.
The performance was wonderful, but the drama did not end when Tosca leapt from the tower. Seated directly in front of me was an opera superfan with three bouquets to bless upon the stars. I heard him telling his companion that he had practiced throwing the flowers over the orchestra pit. At the second intermission he asked the folks sitting to his left if they would let him pass at the final curtain to enable his rush down the aisle. They nodded assent and sure enough when the final note was played, they quickly stood up as he squeezed by, plastic wrapped bouquets in hand.
The problem, this poor guy did not account for, was the severely raked stage designed by David McVicar. That is, on top of the normal stage height, a floor was built at a significant angle moving upward to the right, so when our athlete threw the first flowers at Wolfgang Koch who played Scarpia, they hit the wall and fell in the gap between stage and angled floor. When Joseph Calleja as Cavaradossi stepped out, devotee wound up and threw the bouquet like a pitcher, this time barely making the floor, at which point Calleja quickly gathered it in his hand for his bow. Finally, with the third bouquet, someone– perhaps from the orchestra pit–seemed to think he could do better. So as Iulia Isaev, in her debut as Tosca, appeared, this other guy tried an underhand approach. But, once again, it fell short, so only Calleja held a gift as performers took their final bow.
In sum, another unforgettable tragic performance at the Met.