To start the new year, Austin Lyric Opera presents one of opera’s most beloved stories, Puccini’s Tosca. In fact, the opera had its world premiere in January 1900 in Rome, and was an immediate success with audiences. This production of Tosca also commemorates 10 years since Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Richard Buckley first led Tosca in the 2004. You’ll want to be in the audience for this very special event.
WATCH THE PREVIEW
LISTEN TO A SYNOPSIS
CLICK ABOVE TO LISTEN TO A SYNOPSIS OF TOSCA, with musical highlights and historical background, by Margaret Perry. Recorded for the 2004 performance.
Set in Rome in June 1800, with Rome threatened by Napoleon’s invasion of Italy, Tosca narrows in on three characters, emotionally and politically bound in desire and betrayal.
When her lover, Cavaradossi, is captured by Rome’s secret police, Floria Tosca is forced to make a deal with police chief Scarpia. But Tosca decides that she will leave nothing to chance when it comes to saving her lover. The opera ends with each of the three leads dying tragic deaths, but what happens before the final curtain will keep you on the edge of your seat.
*Offer good for new ticket purchases only. Discount cannot be applied for tickets purchased before Jan. 21. This discount applies for Thursday, Jan. 30, performance only. For more information, call Patron Services at 512-610-7684.
ABOUT THIS PRODUCTION
ALO Conductor Richard Buckley will present Tosca at the Long Center for the first time. (The 2004 production of Tosca took place at Bass Concert Hall.) This production is owned by Lyric Opera of Kansas City with costumes from Utah Opera.
An Austin production, cast, chorus and ALO’s own orchestra will be led by stage director Michael Cavanagh and Maestro Buckley, who will bring the music to life.
Maestro Buckley is a world-renowned interpreter of Puccini”s work, and this will be his second time conducting this opera in Austin. We know you’ll enjoy this intense and masterful work!
Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Original French libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa
Sung in Italian with English translation projected above stage
Synopsis courtesy of The Metropolitan Opera
Rome, June 1800. Cesare Angelotti, an escaped political prisoner, rushes into the church of Sant’Andrea della Valle to hide in one of the chapels. Once he has disappeared, a sacristan enters and then the painter Mario Cavaradossi, who sets to work on his portrait of Mary Magdalene. The painting has been inspired by the Marchesa Attavanti, whom Cavaradossi has seen in the church but does not know. While he works, he compares the dark-haired beauty of his lover, the singer Floria Tosca, to that of the blonde Marchesa Attavanti (“Recondita armonia”).
Angelotti, a member of the former Bonapartiste government, ventures out and is recognized by Cavaradossi. The painter gives him food and hurries him back into the chapel as Tosca is heard calling from outside. Suspicious, she jealously questions Cavaradossi, then reminds him of their rendezvous that evening at his villa. Suddenly recognizing the Marchesa Attavanti in the painting, she accuses him of being unfaithful, but he assures her of his love.
When Tosca has left, Angelotti emerges from the chapel. A cannon signals that the police have discovered the escape, and he and Cavaradossi flee to the painter’s villa. The sacristan enters with choirboys who are preparing to sing in a Te Deum that day celebrating a victory against Napoleon. Their excitement is silenced by the arrival of Baron Scarpia, chief of the secret police, who is searching for Angelotti. When Tosca comes back looking for Cavaradossi, Scarpia shows her a fan with the Attavanti crest that he has just found. Seemingly finding her suspicions confirmed, Tosca bursts into tears. She vows vengeance and leaves as the church fills with worshipers. Scarpia sends his men to follow her to Cavaradossi’s villa, where he thinks Angelotti is hiding (“Tre sbirri… Una carozza…”).
While the congregation sings the Te Deum, Scarpia declares that he will bend Tosca to his will.
In his study at the Palazzo Farnese, Scarpia sadistically anticipates the pleasure of having Tosca in his power (“Ha più forte sapore”). The spy Spoletta arrives, explaining that he was unable to find Angelotti. Instead he brings in Cavaradossi.
While Scarpia interrogates the painter, Tosca is heard singing at a royal gala in the same building. Scarpia sends for her and she enters just as Cavaradossi is being taken away to be tortured. Frightened by Scarpia’s questions and Cavaradossi’s screams, Tosca reveals Angelotti’s hiding place. Cavaradossi is carried in, hurt and dazed.
Realizing what has happened, he angrily confronts Tosca, when the officer Sciarrone rushes in to announce that, in a surprise, Napoleon has won the Battle of Marengo, a defeat for Scarpia’s side. Cavaradossi shouts out his defiance of tyranny and is dragged off to be executed.
Scarpia, calmly resuming his supper, suggests to Tosca that he would let Cavaradossi go free if she’d give herself to him. Fighting off his advances, she calls on God, declaring that she has dedicated her life to art and love (“Vissi d’arte”). Scarpia insists, when Spoletta interrupts: faced with capture, Angelotti has killed himself. Tosca, now forced to give in or lose her lover, agrees to Scarpia’s proposition. The baron seemingly orders a mock execution for Cavaradossi, after which he is to be freed. Spoletta leaves. As soon as Scarpia has written a safe-conduct for the lovers, Tosca kills him with a knife she had found earlier on the table. Wrenching the document from his hand, she quietly leaves the room.
At dawn, Cavaradossi awaits execution at the Castel Sant’Angelo. He bribes the jailer to deliver a farewell letter to Tosca. Overcome with memories of love, he gives in to his despair (“E lucevan le stelle”).
Tosca enters. She explains to him what has happened and the two imagine their future in freedom. As the firing squad appears, Tosca instructs Cavaradossi how to fake his death convincingly, then hides.
The soldiers fire and depart. Tosca urges Cavaradossi to hurry, but when he doesn’t move, she realizes that Scarpia has betrayed her and that the bullets were real. Spoletta rushes in to arrest Tosca for murder. She cries out to Scarpia and leaps from the battlement.
New! Choose Your Opera Experience
For each performance, we’ll offer special opportunities to make your night at the opera more memorable.
Thursday, Jan. 30: The Thursday evening performance is perfect for the downtown set. Guests can take in a relaxing happy hour at Malaga Tapas Bar 440 W. 2nd Street, Austin 78701, from 5:00-7:00 pm for complimentary wine and appetizers before the show. Click here for a map to Malaga. For an exclusive offer for guests of this happy hour, please email Monica Williams, Marketing Director, at email@example.com.
Saturday, Feb. 1: Guests for the Saturday, “Black Tie” performance can join in the glamorous experience that many have come to expect from a night at the opera – posing for photos, a special “Tosca’s Kiss” cocktail, and gorgeous Puccini music in the lobbies before curtain time.
Sunday, Feb. 2: Parents of young children may especially enjoy the family afternoon matinee show on Sunday, as ALO is offering its special on-site Sunday Matinee Music Camp for kids ages 5-12 for the duration of the performance. Located in the AT&T Room, this is not mere babysitting, but a fun learning environment for kids to learn about the art of the opera. Adults won’t be the only ones getting a taste of great classical music that day! ALO will also be shooting complimentary family portraits in the orchestra lobby during intermission for a memorable souvenir. Music Camp RSVP opportunity coming soon. Space is limited.
Floria Tosca – Mardi Byers, soprano
American soprano, Mardi Byers is one of the most exciting and talented artists to have emerged from the United States of America in recent years. Hailed by the press as “world class”, she is making her mark on international opera and concert stages including the Hamburg State Opera, Bregenz Festival, Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater, New York City Opera, Opera Frankfurt, and Finnish National Opera.
Her triumphant opera debut as Floria Tosca at Theater Lübeck in 2003 earned her both critical and public acclaim, prompting invitations from leading opera houses to sing the major roles of her repertoire. Preview Byers singing “vissi d’arte” (“I lived for art”) with this video.
Cavaradossi – Scott Piper, tenor
Spinto tenor Scott Piper’s rich, resonant voice and charismatic stage presence are quickly establishing him as a sought after interpreter of opera’s romantic leading men, in roles such roles as the Cavaradossi in Tosca, Don José in Bizet’s Carmen, Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana. The Salt Lake Tribune wrote of his Utah Opera performance “His voice was rich and natural, with baritone heft in the lower range; his heart-tugging third-act aria, “E lucevan le stelle,” was one of the evening’s highlights.” Recently transitioning into spinto repertoire, Scott sang Calaf in Turandot for Pensacola Opera and Minnesota Opera, Manrico in Il Trovatore with Utah Opera, and Luigi in Il Tabarro with Opera Koeln. Watch Piper perform from Barber of Seville with the Fresno Youth Philharmonic Orchestra
Scarpia – Wayne Tigges, baritone
Lauded by the Chicago Sun-Times for his “rich, dark tone and beautiful legato,” Wayne Tigges has most recently performed the roles of Faraone in Mose in Egitto (New York City Opera), Douglas in La donna del lago (Santa Fe Opera), Claudius in Hamlet (Minnesota Opera), and Superintendent Budd In Albert Herring (Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse), and Leporello in Don Giovanni (Pittsburgh Opera).
Other recent operatic engagements include Achilla in Giulio Cesare (Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago); Escamillo in Carmen (Glyndebourne Festival, San Diego Opera); Kolenaty in The Makropolous Case (Opéra National de Paris); Villains in Les contes d’ Hoffmann, Hercules in Gluck’s Alceste; Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia (Santa Fe Opera); Donner in Das Rheingold (Los Angeles Opera); Don Giovanni (Opera Pacific); Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia (Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Colorado); Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro (Austin Lyric Opera); and Jochanaan in Salome (Arizona Opera).
REVIEW: “Austin Lyric Opera’s TOSCA” Austin American-Statesman
““Tosca,” is the sort of opera that shows what the art form can do, where three hours fly by.” …more
REVIEW: “Vai a ‘Tosca'” Austinist
“The opening night performance by the Austin Lyric Opera lived up to the great expectations of a very full audience at the Long Center.” …more
REVIEW: “Austin Lyric Opera’s TOSCA Triumphs“ Broadway World
“Even those who criticize the piece for its flair for the dramatics would be pleased by this glorious production. This is what all operas should aspire to be.” …more
REVIEW: “Tosca” Austin Chronicle
“From the first notes – which erupted from the pit like a volcanic blast from the underworld – we were thrust into a world of high drama, every scene heightened to an intensity beyond the natural.” …more