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Florida Grand Opera to Present Giacomo Puccini's TOSCA, 3/29


Last presented by Florida Grand Opera in 2007, Puccini's Tosca is a riveting psychological drama that builds up to one of opera's most stunning conclusions. Torture, murder, and suicide return to the Arsht Center on March 29, 2014, with an exciting double cast and timeless sets by Ercole Sormani.

Based on a play by Victorien Sardou, Puccini's lyrical masterwork tells the story of Floria Tosca, a famous diva, who fights to save her lover in a gripping tale of political turmoil and human passion with a devastating end. Puccini's inventive orchestration, through-composition, and use of leitmotifs, such as the highly recognizable "Scarpia chord," made it an immediate hit with the public. It continues to remain one of the most frequently performed operas in the world to this day.

Two dazzling sopranos, Kara Shay Thomson - in her FGO debut - and Jouvanca Jean-Baptiste, portray the seductive diva, Tosca. Thomson sang the role three times since 2012 including Atlanta Opera, Portland Opera, and Kentucky Opera -and was commended by the Longboat Observer(Florida) as "luminous and luxurious in sound, while maintaining the nuanced vocalism of a true diva." She is also an accomplished concert performer with engagements at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Lynchburg Symphony, and more. Jean-Baptiste is a fast rising lyric-spinto soprano and an artist in the FGO Young Artist Program. In 2010, the Haitian-American singer shone in her first Tosca with Opera San Jose in her second year as a Principal Resident Artist. The San Jose Mercury News described her as a "voice of unusual opulence and hair-raising power - the raw materials of a star."

As Tosca's lover, Cavaradossi, FGO welcomes two additional debuts, tenors Rafael Davila and Diego Torre. Davila debuted the role in spring 2009 with the Sarasota Opera and reprised the role in fall 2009 with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and was praised "a lyrical voice with a spectacular upper range and beautifully focused tone" by the Kansas City Star. Other recent highlights include his Washington National Opera debut as Pollione in Norma and his Italian debut at the Teatro San Carlo as Riccardo in Un ballo in maschera. Mexican tenor Torre has sung Cavarodossi with Boston Lyric Opera and Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe in Germany. He has performed Rodolfo in La bohème with Wolf Trap Opera and Opera Australia, where Bachtrak suggested "his upper register is just as silky as Pavarotti's." American baritone Todd Thomas joins the cast as the notorious Scarpia. One of the staples of his career, he has performed the role with numerous companies including Sarasota Opera and New York City Opera, where the New York Times dubbed his performance "vocally assured and dramatically charged." Recently, as Macbeth, Opera News depicted his performance as "warm and centered in his tone with subtle phrasing that emphasized the introspective, almost poetic quality of the tormented king."

Following a successful tango double-bill production with FGO, José Maria Condemi returns to South Florida to lead the stage direction with what Opera Actual calls "good taste, precise staging and consummate theatrical flair." Maestro Tebar conducts this timeless work with a style marked by "vigor, sharp dynamic contracts and rich emotional colors," as noted by Palm Beach Daily News. Christopher Maravich makes his debut with the company as lighting designer, having previously spent 14 years with San Francisco Opera working on more than 150 different productions.

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