Puccini's TOSCA to Open at San Diego Opera Next Month Starring Michelle Bradley and Greer Grimsley

Performed in Italian with English translations above the stage, Tosca is Giacomo Puccini’s gripping drama filed with torture, treachery, lust, execution and suicide.

By: Feb. 28, 2023
Puccini's TOSCA to Open at San Diego Opera Next Month Starring Michelle Bradley and Greer Grimsley
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San Diego Opera's 2022-2023 Season will continue with Puccini's Tosca on Saturday, March 25, 2023 at the San Diego Civic Theatre for four performances. Additional performances are March 28, 31, and April 2 (matinee), 2023. All evening performances take place at 7:30 PM, matinees at 2 PM.

These performances of Tosca feature the return of soprano Michelle Bradley in the title role of the opera singer Floria Tosca. Bradley made her Company debut in the title role of Aida in 2019 and returned for sold-out concerts in 2022. She recently sang Tosca at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Joining her is San Diego Opera favorite, the bass-baritone Greer Grimsley returning the reprise his signature role of Scarpia. Grimsley was last heard as The Pirate King in 2018's The Pirates of Penzance, and sang Scarpia for the Company last time Tosca was performed in 2016. Making an exciting Company debut as Cavaradossi is tenor Marcelo Puente, who has made notable debuts at Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Opéra national de Paris, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Teatro alla Scala in recent seasons. Rounding out the cast is baritone Michael Sokol as the Sacristan, tenor Joel Sorensen as Spoletta, and soprano Abigail Allwein as the Shepherd Boy. Conductor Valerio Galli, who made his Company debut in 2018's Turandot returns to lead the San Diego Symphony for these performances. San Diego Opera's Resident Director, Alan E. Hicks, who last directed 2019's Aida and served and Song and Visual Coordinator for 2021's One Amazing Night: When I See Your Face Again, returns to stage the action.

Performed in Italian with English translations above the stage, Tosca is Giacomo Puccini's gripping drama filed with torture, treachery, lust, execution and suicide. Scarpia, the chief of police, wants only two things: to recapture the escaped prisoner Angelotti and to seduce Tosca, an opera singer of incredible voice and beauty. Tosca is in love with Cavaradossi, an artist and sympathizer of Angelotti. After arresting Cavardossi for harboring Angelotti, Scarpia plays with Tosca's emotions, promising to free Cavaradossi if Tosca will succumb to him. But Tosca has a plan of her own and Scarpia a secret order, all of which unfolds with tragic consequences from which no one can escape. Soaring and sensuous, filled with such beautiful arias as Tosca's "Vissi d'arte", Cavaradossi's "Recondita armonia" and the beautiful choral piece "Te Deum", Tosca has some of Opera's most beloved music, and one of Opera's most gripping plots.

This production is owned by San Diego Opera and was last seen in 2016. It was originally designed by Ft. Worth Opera. The set designer is Andrew Horn. The costumes were originally created for New York City Opera and refurbished by the Seattle Opera Costume Shop. The original costume designer is Andrew Marley with additional designs by Heidi Zamora. The lighting designer is Gary Marder. These performances will be the ninth time Tosca has been performed by San Diego Opera with performances happening in 2016, 2009, 2002, 1996, 1986, 1981, 1974, and 1967. These performances are made possible by lead production sponsor, Darlene Marcos Shiley.

Artist Bios

Michelle Bradley, Tosca

Soprano Michelle Bradley made her Company debut in the title role of Aida in 2019 and was recently heard in recital as part of the 2021 season. She is a 2018 graduate of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. She made recent appearances with the Vienna State Opera as Leonora in Il Trovatore (a role debut), the San Francisco Opera's virtual performance of Ernani as Elvira (another role debut), and Liù in Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera. She also appeared in solo recital at the Kennedy Center and performed Samuel Barber's Knoxville, Summer of 1915 with the New World Symphony. Future projects include, debuts with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and returns to the Metropolitan Opera, all in leading roles. In the 2018-2019 season, the soprano made a string of notable debuts with Oper Frankfurt for Leonora in a new production of La Forza del Destino, with Opéra national de Lorraine and Theater Erfurt for the title role in Aida, and at Deutsche Oper Berlin for the soprano solo in staged performances of the Verdi Requiem. She recently made her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as Tosca. In concert, she debuted in Paris as the soprano solo in Sir Michael Tippett's A Child of Our Time with the Orchestre de Paris under Thomas Adès, sang the soprano solo in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin and sang in recital under the auspices of the George London Foundation in Miami and New York City. Prior to that, Ms. Bradley returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Clotilde in the new David McVicar production of Norma. She also appeared in Santiago de Chile as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. On the concert stage the soprano made her debut at the May Festival in the Verdi Requiem, sang the Vier letzte Lieder by Richard Strauss with the Santa Cruz Symphony, performed a program of Chausson and Caplet chamber works with the New World Symphony and gave solo recitals in Palm Beach and Santiago de Chile. In the Metropolitan Opera's 2016-2017 season, the soprano made debuts in Mozart's Idomeneo and as the High Priestess in Verdi's Aida. Other engagements included recitals at the Théâtre du Châtelet, New York's Park Avenue Armory and a return to Santa Cruz for Verdi's Messa da Requiem. In January 2016, Ms. Bradley performed in Carnegie Hall's Neighborhood Recital Series in honor of Marilyn Horne, and in the following May, she made her debut singing Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Santa Cruz Symphony Orchestra. Michelle Bradley is a winner of the 2018 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, the 2017 recipient of the Leonie Rysanek Award from the George London Foundation, the 2017 Lissner Charitable Fund Award from Opera Index, a 2017 Sullivan Foundation Award winner, the 2016 recipient of the Hildegard Behrens Foundation Award, and a first-place winner in the Gerda Lissner and the Serge and Olga Koussevitzky vocal competitions. She is the 2014 grand prize winner of The Music Academy of the West's Marilyn Horne Song Competition and in May 2015, was presented in a nationwide recital tour as part of her prize. She received her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from Bowling Green State University. She has studied under Andrew W. Smith, Wilhelmenia Fernandez, Myra Merrit, Lois Alba, and Diana Soviero. She has also participated in master classes with Stephanie Blythe, Anne Sofie Von Otter, Marilyn Horne, Deborah Voigt, James Morris, and Renata Scotto.

Marcelo Puente, Cavaradossi

San Diego Opera debut. Born in Argentina, Marcelo Puente has gained widespread recognition as an important lirico-spinto tenor in theaters including the Royal Opera House, Opéra national de Paris, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatsoper Stuttgart, Teatro alla Scala, Teatro Colon, Opera Australia, Teatro Real in Madrid, Staatsoper Hamburg, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Semperoper Dresden, Canadian Opera Company, the State Opera in Prague, and several others. Puente sprang to international attention in 2017 when he debuted at the Royal Opera House as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly opposite Ermonela Jaho and conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano. This production was also released on DVD. Other debuts followed in rapid succession: at Staatsoper Hamburg and Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie as Pinkerton, as Cavaradossi in Tosca at the Canadian Opera Company, as Don José with Opera Australia, and in Japan in concert performances of Carmen under Charles Dutoit with the NHK Orchestra. Puente sang Paolo in Francesca da Rimini at Opéra du Rhin in Strasbourg in 2018 and subsequently starred in the same role for his debut at La Scala. He also added the role of Don Álvaro in La Forza del Destino to his repertoire in a new production at Opernhaus Zürich, as well as at Semperoper Dresden. The artist also sang his first Calaf in Turandot for his debut at the Vancouver Opera. In 2019, Puente made two other significant debuts: at the Opéra national de Paris as Cavaradossi and at the Washington National Opera in the title role of Faust. He returned to Dresden as Don José in Carmen and made his debut at Cologne Opera in La Forza del Destino. He also sang Cavaradossi at Staatsoper Hamburg and Pinkerton in El Escorial, Spain. Puente began the 2019/20 season with his debut at the Teatro Real in Madrid in the title role of Don Carlos, after which he reprised the role for his debut at the Greek National Opera in Athens. He also recently sang his first Pollione in a new production of Norma at Staatsoper Hamburg. Other engagements have included Don José at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Manrico in Il Trovatore with Opera Toulon, and the title role in a new production of Verdi's Don Carlos at the State Opera Prague. Puente has also starred as Riccardo in Un ballo in maschera at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. Last season, Puente made his debut at the Opéra de Marseille as Cavaradossi in Tosca. Puente began the 2021/22 season with his return to Dresden as Pollione in Norma, after which he appeared as Pinkerton for his debut at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo and at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia. He debuted the title role of Andrea Chenier this season at the Greek National Opera and returns to Marseille in the title role of Don Carlos. In the 2022/23 season he will return to the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and to the Hamburg State Opera in Tosca. He will appear as Don Jose in Montreal. Roles in preparation for the future include Turridu in Cavalleria Rusticana, Dick Johnson in La Fanciulla del West, Enzo in La Gioconda, and Radames in Aida.

Greer Grimsley, Scarpia

American bass-baritone Greer Grimsley made his San Diego Opera debut as Telramund in Lohengrin in 2000, returned for Pizarro in Fidelio in 2003, The High Priest of Dagon in Samson and Delilah in 2007, Scarpia in Tosca in 2009 and 2016, Méphistophélès in Faust in 2010, as Jochanaan in Salome in 2012, and was last heard locally as The Pirate King in 2017's The Pirates of Penzance. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Captain Balstrode in Peter Grimes and has returned as Escamillo in Carmen, Jochanaan, Scarpia, Telramund, and Amfortas in Parsifal. Recent engagements include Wotan in Seattle Opera's Ring Cycle, Don Pizarro in Fidelio with Opera Company of Philadelphia, Portland Opera and the Portuguese National Opera, Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde at Lyric Opera of Chicago, John the Baptist with the companies of Santa Fe, Vancouver and San Francisco and Scarpia with L'Opera de Montreal, Opera Colorado and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Other roles include The Flying Dutchman in Lithuania and Seattle Opera, the title role of Macbeth with Vancouver Opera, Amonasro in Aida with Portland Opera, Méphistophélès in Faust with New Orleans Opera, and the title role of Sweeney Todd with Vancouver Opera. A frequent singer in Europe, Grimsley has performed leading roles at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Royal Danish Opera, Prague National Theatre, Aarhus-Den Jyske Opera in Denmark, the Scottish Opera and the Stadttheater Basel in Switzerland, among others.

Joel Sorensen, Spoletta

American tenor Joel Sorensen made his San Diego Opera debut as Curley in Of Mice and Men in 1999, returning as Camp Williams in Cold Sassy Tree in 2001, Andres in Wozzeck in 2007, Rodriguez in Don Quixote in 2009 and 2014, Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet in 2010, Pang in Turandot and Valzacchi in Der Rosenkavalier in 2011, 2013 as the First Tempter/First Knight in Murder in the Cathedral and Beppe in Pagliacci, Spoletta in 2016's Tosca, Dr. Caius in Falstaff in 2017, Pong in Turandot in 2018, and the Witch in Hansel and Gretel in 2020. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2000 in Samson and Delilah, returning for Sly, Madama Butterfly, Der Rosenkavalier, War and Peace, The Barber of Seville, Tosca and The Magic Flute. He made his debut with New York City Opera as Monostatos in The Magic Flute, returning in Madama Butterfly, Falstaff, Turandot, The Marriage of Figaro, Prince Igor, La rondine, The Seven Deadly Sins and Margaret Garner. Other appearances include Vitek in The Markropulos Case, Incredibile in Andrea Chenier, The Doctor in The Fall of the House of Usher, and Balthasar Zorn in Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg for San Francisco Opera, King Herod in Salome with Florentine Opera, Pedrillo in Entführung aus dem Serail for Atlanta Opera and Mime in Siegfried for Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh and Longborough Festival. Other companies with which he has sung include Seattle Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Portland Opera and Palm Beach Opera.

Valerio Galli, Conductor

Italian conductor Valerio Galli made his Company debut conducting Turandot in 2018. He was named "Best Italian Conductor Under 40" by La Stampa newspaper. His recent engagements include Carmen at Michigan Opera Theatre, La bohème at Teatro San Carlo and Teatro Regio, Don Carlo and Fedora at Teatro Carlo Felice, Pagliacci in Verona, Adriana Lecouvreur for Macedonian Opera and Ballet in Skopje, Zanetto and Cavalleria rusticana for Teatro Goldoni, La rondine for Fresno Grand Opera, Madama Butterfly for Teatro Muicipale in Picenza and Teatro Carlo Felice, Turandot with Theater Zhuhai Huafa in China, Michigan Opera Theater, and Teatro Verdi, La forza del destino at Teatro Verdi, Tosca at Teatro Coccia in Novara, Teatro Sociale in Trento, Teatro Verdi, and Teatro Sociale in Rovigo, Il Campanello and Gianni Schicchi at Teatro Carlo Felice, Rigoletto at Teatro Comunale, Carmen at Teatro Coccia, and La traviata at Teatro Sociale in Mantua. He is well known for his concert work with performances at the XXII Kecskeméti Tavaszi Festival in Hungary, the International House of Music in Moscow, Teatro Goldoni in Livorno, Teatro Pavarotti in Modena, Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, the New Year's Day Concerts at Teatro del Giglio in Lucca and Teatro Verdi in Pisa, symphonic concerts with the SanMarino Symphony Orchestra and inaugurated the 57th Santander Festival with soloists Eva Mei and Giacomo Prestia.

Alan E Hicks, Stage Director

Following several years as a professional singer and teaching stints at the internationally acclaimed Actors Studio Drama School and American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Alan E. Hicks turned his attention to stage direction. He has directed productions for organizations throughout the United States and in Europe including Minnesota Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, San Diego Opera, Tulsa Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Franco-American Vocal Academy in Salzburg, and Music Academy International in Italy. Alan has also served on the directing and production staffs of Central City Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Michigan Opera Theatre, New York City Opera, Seattle Opera, and Tulsa Opera. In 2013, he was appointed Director of the Emerging Artist Program at Green Mountain Opera Festival, a position he held until the company's closing in 2015. He is San Diego Opera's Resident Director and serves as Assistant Director on San Diego Opera's productions. His directing engagements for the Company include Tosca, Aida, and All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 and he co-conceived When I See Your Face Again: Unmasking the music of notorious pandemics. Notable work includes Ariadne auf Naxos for Minnesota Opera, The Elixir of Love for Opera Santa Barbara, La Clemenza di Tito for Music Academy International, Albert Herring at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, L'Amico Fritz and L'Italiana in Algeri for the Moores Opera Center at the University of Houston, Die Zauberflöte for Shenandoah Conservatory, and The Turn of the Screw for the Miami Music Festival. In addition to his work alongside such venerable operatic performers as Renée Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, Silvia McNair, Frederica von Stade, Carl Tanner, and Thomas Hampson as well as rising stars Michelle Bradley, Erin Morley, Kate Lindsey, Hannah Hipp, Brian Jagde, Amber Wagner, and Nadine Sierra, Alan has assisted renowned opera directors Michael Cavanagh, Chris Alexander, Linda Brovsky, Jay Lesenger, Peter Kazaras, and Broadway veterans Susan Stroman and Sam Buntrock. Of Costa Rican-American descent, Alan holds degrees in Music Education, Vocal Performance, and Opera Directing from Mississippi State University, Rice University, and The University of Texas at Austin (respectively). Alan is a member of Actors' Equity Association (AEA) and the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA).

Andrew Horn, Set Design

San Diego Opera debut. Set designer Andrew Horn has designed sets for opera companies in Baltimore, Detroit, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York and Miami. He has designed for the Queen Elizabeth 2, and worked as an assistant designer on productions for American Repertory Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Atlanta Opera, Berkshire Theatre Festival (MA), and others. He started his career as the Resident Design Assistant for the La Jolla Playhouse. In addition to designing for theatre he has been a commercial designer for Tomar Lampart and Associates, Douglas Derkin Design, and Timothy Corrigan, Inc. He is also owner and principal designer of Andrew Horn Design. He holds a bachelor of arts in fine art from the University of Notre Dame, including a year of studies in Rome, and a masters in opera design and production from Indiana University.

Gary Marder, Lighting Designer

American Lighting Designer Gary Marder made his San Diego debut lighting Norma in 2003, returned in 2009 for Peter Grimes, 2011 for Carmen, 2012 for The Barber of Seville, 2013 for Samson and Delilah, 2014 for A Masked Ball, and 2016 for Tosca. He has been the Assistant Resident Lighting Designer for the Metropolitan Opera for the past 12 seasons. He has designed The Makropulos Case and Samson and Delilah for Houston Grand Opera, and Dialogues of the Carmelites for Palm Beach Opera. He served as Associate Resident Lighting Designer with the New York City Opera for five years and has worked in many opera houses on the East Coast including Boston, Connecticut and Washington DC. Marder has designed plays and musicals for The New York State Theatre Institute including Big River, The Tempest, Pinocchio and Death of a Salesman. He designed the Off-Broadway production of A Terrible Beauty and served as Assistant Lighting Designer on the Broadway productions of Tru, Grand Hotel, Gypsy and Annie II.

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