This "soundtrack" (here in highlights form) is drawn from Benoit Jacquot's well-regarded film adaptation of Tosca. At first glance, it has a lot to recommend it -- especially its stars, Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna, and Ruggero Raimondi, all of whom have had first-rate careers. Tosca hangs entirely on the vocal and dramatic charisma of its three stars, so a single weak link can compromise the whole. Unfortunately, that's the case here, although this is not a bad recording. It just doesn't live up to its potential. Gheorghiu is a stellar Tosca; she brings all the pathos, fire, and vocal beauty one could ask for in the part, and even without the benefit of the film's visual element it is easy to imagine her as a compelling heroine onscreen. Her "Vissi d'arte" has just the right combination of pride and sorrow, and her killing of Scarpia is as emotionally vivid as Maria Callas in her prime. But neither Alagna nor Raimondi can match what she brings. Alagna sounds pushed out of his comfort zone, as if he's going for ten percent too much in every phrase. The usual beauty of his singing is missing, and he too often resorts to affected vocal mannerisms, like the "Caruso sob." As the Baron Scarpia, Raimondi sings with obvious experience and dramatic intensity. But the bite and color of his voice have dulled over the years, and here he sounds muffled and diffuse. Scarpia needs to be imposing vocally as well as dramatically. Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra and Chorus of Covent Garden give their usual excellent performances. In the end, fans of Gheorghiu may want this recording, and anyone who especially enjoyed the film as well. But if you're just shopping for a Tosca, there are more well-rounded choices available.
AllMusic Review by Allen Schrott