Lyric Opera of KC to Present TOSCA, 4/18-26
Lyric Opera of Kansas City concludes its dynamic 57th season with Giacomo Puccini's vibrant Tosca, April 18, 22, 24 and 26 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The production will be sung in Italian with English and Italian titles.
General Director and CEO Deborah Sandler stated, "The 2014-15 season is the season of emotionally contrasting and power-packed operas that you won't want to miss and Tosca is the perfect way to finish our season. This big, grand opera features the debuts of some of the world's most talented opera stars from around the world including Melody Moore, James Valenti, and Gordon Hawkins. This growing tradition of presenting the highest quality of artists coupled with the magnificent production qualities that you've come to expect from the Lyric Opera of Kansas City mark Tosca as one not to be missed."
One of the most popular and beloved operas of the repertoire, Puccini's Tosca features some of the most beautiful music in opera. Set in Rome in 1800, Tosca tells the tale of a fiery prima donna forced to play a role she never imagined when she becomes trapped between her allegiance to her rebel lover and a treacherous police officer who will stop at nothing to claim her as his own. This explosive triangle builds to one of the most bloody and intense moments in opera and features Puccini's best-known lyrical arias.
This production features Kansas City debuts of many notable international artists, much to the good fortune of Kansas City audiences. Making her Lyric Opera of Kansas City debut, soprano Melody Moore will perform the role of Floria Tosca. This international artist has won accolades around the globe, including rave reviews for her recent performance as Marta in the world premiere of The Passenger at Houston Grand Opera. "Moore sings with abandon when the music needs it, but the tenderness and soul she gives Marta's interactions with the other prisoners are even more telling." (Houston Chronicle). The San Francisco Chronicle said of her Tosca, "Tosca is an ideal role for Melody Moore, drawing on her ability to launch potent, full-bodied high notes...while still bringing power and clarity to more intimate passages."
Internationally acclaimed tenor James Valenti is also making his Kansas City debut, in the role of Mario Cavaradossi. The New York Times noted his "dark-centered, expressive tenor" for his recent lead role in Don Carlos. A commanding presence at 6'5", Valenti has built a global reputation for his elegant musicianship and ardent vocal style. He has performed in many of the world's most celebrated opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House London, Opera National de Paris, Sydney Opera House and Teatro Alla Scala Milan. In addition to making his Lyric Opera debut, he has another important Kansas City connection: he is the celebrity ambassador for the Kansas City-based charity, Children International, a 75-year old organization that provides life-changing child and youth development programs in ten countries.
Another international star with a no less-commanding physical presence, baritone Gordon Hawkins will make his Kansas City debut in the role of Baron Scarpia. He has been critically acclaimed throughout the world for his in-depth interpretations and luxuriant baritone voice. A winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the George London Grant recipient, he has been praised for his rich lyricism as well as his dramatic instinct. He is a winner of the Luciano Pavarotti Competition and in 2006 was honored as the Washington National Opera "Artist of the Year." He is considered the leading Alberich in the world, having performed Wagner's Ring Cycle with the Washington National Opera, the BBC Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall and most recently with the San Francisco Opera in Fancesa Zambello's American ring. Voix des Arts writes of Hawkins recent turn in the title role of Verdi's Nabucco, "ever an instrument of malleable but unbreakable bronze, his voice is now polished to a bright, shining surface that rests upon a column of powerful, ably projected tone."
Bass-baritone Julien Robbins will return to Lyric Opera in the role of Sacristan. Kansas City audiences may remember him for his recent role as Lorenzo opposite Joyce DiDonato in The Capulets and the Montagues. Robbins has sung more than 50 roles at the Metropolitan Opera in 25 consecutive seasons. Bass Ben Wager returns to the Lyric Opera in the role Angelotti, one year after his turn as Colline in the Lyric's production of Puccini's La bohème, and this season's The Italian Girl in Algiers, in which he played Taddeo. Tenor Scott Wichael in the role of Spoletta, and bass Terence Murphy as Sciarrone, will also return to Lyric Opera.
Garnett Bruce returns to the Lyric Opera to direct his 6th production in Kansas City, and Ward Holmquist will conduct. Lyric Opera of Kansas City Director of Design and Technical Production R. Keith Brumley will design the production.
Floria Tosca: Melody Moore
Mario Cavaradossi: James Valenti
Baron Scarpia: Gordon Hawkins
A Sacristan: Julien Robbins
Cesare Angelotti: Ben Wager
Spoletta: Scott Wichael
Sciarrone: Terence Murphy
Conductor: Ward Holmquist
Director: Garnett Bruce
Set Designer: R. Keith Brumley
Costume Designer: Lena Rivkina
Lighting Designer: James Sale
Wig and Make-up Designer: Alison Hanks