Tosca is a thriller set in Rome in the early 19th century, with the drama taking place over just 24 hours. Floria Tosca, a beautiful singer, is in love with the artist Cavaradossi. However, the corrupt chief of police Baron Scarpia wants her for himself.
When the baron discovers that Cavaradossi has been helping political prisoners escape, including the former Republican leader turned exile Cesare Angelotti, he hatches a plot to force Tosca to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her lover – she must give herself to Scarpia or Cavaradossi will die.
This new production marks Menzies’s fifth since he took the helm at NI Opera mid-pandemic in 2020. It follows his critically acclaimed version of Verdi’s La traviata in September 2022, which was the Grand Opera House’s fastest-selling opera ever.
NI Opera returns to the opera house with its 24-strong chorus of Northern Irish and Irish singing talent, joining forces once again with the Ulster Orchestra, to perform Tosca from 9-16 September.
“After the critical success and audience response to last year’s production of La traviata, we are very excited to be able to bring to life a masterpiece such as Tosca by Puccini,” Menzies commented.
“Gathering our forces alongside the Grand Opera House, the Ulster Orchestra and showcasing the second year of commitment to the Chorus Development Programme is thrilling for us as a company. Our NI Opera Chorus is becoming one of our greatest assets and allows the company to work with many Northern Irish artists to stage and perform some of the most moving music written in the operatic canon. We can’t wait to be able to share this new production with our audiences.”
NI Opera’s Chorus Development Programme invites local singers to join the NI Opera Chorus via open auditions. It launched in 2022, and the 2023 programme started in March, with the chorus working with regular and guest coaches as they prepare for Tosca.
Performances of this new production take place on 9, 12, 14 and 16 September 2023 at 7.30pm at the Grand Opera House, Belfast. Tickets cost £17.50-£52 including booking fee.
The role of Floria Tosca is sung by Russian soprano Svetlana Kasyan, with Siberia tenor Roman Arndt as her lover Cavaradossi. British baritone Matthew Durkan sings Angelotti and Irish baritone Brendan Collins is the tyrannical Scarpia. Eduardo Strausser conducts. Full cast and creative team details are available from NI Opera.
Ian Wilson, Grand Opera House chief executive, said: “We are thrilled to welcome NI Opera back to their home following the sell-out success of La traviata last year, the fastest-selling opera on record at the Grand Opera House. Cameron Menzies is taking opera at the theatre to new heights, and we are delighted to support the company’s work.
“Alongside the work on stage, NI Opera and the Grand Opera House teams will create and deliver an exciting and engaging outreach programme aimed at connecting communities and audiences with one of the greatest operas ever written.”
The cast of Northern Ireland Opera’s new production of Puccini’s Tosca includes (clockwise from top left): soprano Svetlana Kasyan as Tosca, baritone Brendan Collins as Scarpia, tenor Aaron O’Hare as Spoletta and tenor Roman Arndt as Cavaradossi.