Oksana Dyka sang at the 2005 inauguration of President Viktor Yushchenko (or so Wikipedia confidently assures me). Only two months afterwards, she would star in her very first Tosca. Nine years later, in a political maelstrom where power is wrenched from fist to fist daily, where religion cannot be a safe refuge, and where corruption may persecute its casual victims on the sly, Dyka’s home country of Ukraine bears a tragic passing resemblance to Tosca’s Rome on 17-18 June 1800.
Though far from home today, Dyka must surely feel an unsettling closeness between life and art as she enters Tosca’s nightmare world of political and social explosion. Her house debut at Covent Garden in this marvellous production by Jonathan Kent was, nevertheless, a little stiff.