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The Dallas Opera to Present TOSCA, Today

DALLAS, OCTOBER 16, 2015 - Expect edge-of-your-seat excitement and experience Grand Opera at its finest as The Dallas Opera presents Giacomo Puccini's immortal TOSCA, opening on Friday, November 6, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

Additional performances will take place on Sunday, Nov. 8 (2:00 p.m.matinee); Wednesday, Nov. 11; Saturday, Nov. 14; Friday, Nov. 20 and Sunday, Nov. 22 (2:00 matinee).

TOSCA is regarded as one of the company's most beautiful and beloved classic productions, complete with magnificent sets, costumes, The Dallas Opera Orchestra, The Dallas Opera Chorus and spectacular performances by internationally acclaimed singers conducted by The Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director Emmanuel Villaume.

This superb, action-packed opera will be experienced for the first time in the setting of the glorious Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center! TOSCA stars soprano Emily Magee in the title role of celebrated singer Floria Tosca; Chilean tenor Giancarlo Monsalve in his Dallas Opera debut as Cavaradossi; bass Raymond Aceto as the dastardly Baron Scarpia; bass-baritone Ryan Kuster as freedom fighter Cesare Angelotti; bass-baritone Dale Travis in his Dallas Opera debut as the Sacristan; tenor William Ferguson as the police detective, Spoletta; baritone Wes Mason (the Phyllis A. McCasland and Thomas H. McCasland, Jr. Young Artist) as the Police Sergeant, Sciarrone; bass Christopher Harrison as the Jailer and boy soprano Campbell S. Colllins III in his TDO debut as the Shepherd Boy.

Support for The Dallas Opera's TOSCA is provided by the AT&T Performing Arts Center and by J.P. Morgan.

Set in Rome during turbulent times, the story centers on famed diva Floria Tosca, one of opera's most unforgettable female characters. Portrayed by lovely soprano Emily Magee, Tosca faces seemingly insurmountable challenges but carries on, driven by love, loyalty and her devotion to her art.

Tosca's lover, the painter Mario Cavaradossi, consents to hide a former Consul of the Roman Republic, now, an escaped political prisoner at the height of the Napoleonic Wars; an act which exposes the romantic duo to the dangerous machinations of Baron Scarpia, a corrupt local police chief. Cavaradossi is arrested, questioned and tortured. Scarpia, obsessed with his lust for power and for the one woman who spurns him, counts on the lovers' loyalty to each other to force them to reveal the location of the sought-after fugitive. Unless Floria Tosca consents to give herself, body and soul, to the evil Scarpia-Cavaradossi will be tortured to death!

TOSCA will feature the renowned Dallas Opera Chorus-50 members strong-as well as a 20-member children's chorus to enhance the richness of this turn-of-the-century Italian score and the drama of one of Puccini's best-loved masterpieces.

The powerful 74-piece Dallas Opera Orchestra and this cast will be conducted by critically acclaimed Music Director Emmanuel Villaume, who inspired Edward Seckerson of Grammophon (U.K.) to recently write: "The refinement of Villaume's conducting is a constant source of delight."

The French-born conductor has led the most prominent opera companies and symphony orchestras around the world. Currently in his third season as The Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director of The Dallas Opera, Maestro Villaume leads the company's 2015-16 Season in performances of Tosca, Show Boat, and the world premiere of Mark Adamo's Becoming Santa Claus.

Guest engagements in the U.S. this season include Roméo et Juliette at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as well as his return to Santa Fe Opera in the summer of 2016. Following his triumph in Manon at London's Royal Opera House in 2014, Villaume returns to Covent Garden for performances of Tosca. Manon was also the vehicle of Maestro Villaume's return to the Metropolitan Opera in January 2015, about which the New York Times proclaimed, "It is the most vivid, exciting take on Manon at the Met in many years, and sets the bar high, early on, for the company's spring season."

In September, Villaume began his tenure as Music Director and Chief Conductor of the PKF - Prague Philharmonia. Recent projects with the PKF include a Deutsche Grammophon recording with Anna Netrebko, a Warner Classics release with Bryan Hymel, and a special New Year's celebration concert at the Royal Opera House Muscat. His orchestral performances last season included New York's Avery Fisher Hall for the 2014 Richard Tucker Gala and Alice Tully Hall for concerts with the Juilliard Orchestra; the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago; the White Nights Festival at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia; and a European concert tour of Iolanta with performances in Lucerne, Copenhagen, Monte Carlo, and London's Royal Albert Hall - featuring soprano Anna Netrebko.

Emmanuel Villaume returns to the Royal Opera House, Muscat in December 2015 for a concert with the PKF and guest soprano Sondra Radvanovsky.

"After working on contemporary operas and preparing for a world premiere production," notes Maestro Villaume, "it's fascinating to revisit the classics of the repertoire, in all their complexities, with a fresh and re-focused perspective.

"The Dallas Opera's Tosca benefits tremendously from a strong, youthful cast that makes these characters come vividly to life," he adds. "Together, these people are capable of almost anything a man or woman might do-from displays of extraordinary courage and heroism to moral indifference and the most terrible depravity. Throughout the opera, the composer and librettist explore the relationship between man and art-and how both are lifted up or knocked flat by the winds of change."

This classic period piece will be staged by director Ellen Douglas Schlaefer in her Dallas Opera debut. Among her professional credits, Ms. Schlaefer serves as the Director of Opera Studies at the University of South Carolina, School of Music. She has staged Faust for Washington National Opera; La bohème and Don Giovanni for Lyric Opera of Kansas City; Scott Joplin and Treemonisha for Opera Memphis; Le nozze di Figaro, Carmen, La bohème, and Roméo et Juliette with the National Symphony Orchestra and Wolf Trap Opera; The Little Prince (Francesca Zambello's production) for Houston Grand Opera and Tulsa Opera; and many more projects for both the opera and theatrical stage.

Ms. Schlaefer is also the founder and General Director of FBN Productions, Inc., "Opera for Kids," a professional touring company that takes opera into schools, libraries and community venues throughout the Southeast.

Emily Magee (Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro) is described by Robert Levine of Classics Today as "a super Tosca, singing with clarity and grand tone, delivering outrage and tenderness in equal proportions. Her 'Vissi d'arte' is gorgeous." The New York Times, too, has praised her "richly resonant soprano."

Giancarlo Monsalve, a charismatic Chilean tenor, makes his Dallas Opera debut in the role of the passionate Cavaradossi. According to The Washington Times, Mr. Monsalve as Cavaradossi "displayed a smooth, flexible tenor range...his diction remained superb as he accurately hit each top note"; and Rebecca Evans of DC Theater Scene added: "All that needs to be said about Monsalve is that his presence is unparalleled. Bravo."

Raymond Aceto, who will create the role of Scarpia, was praised by Gregory Barnett of Opera News for his "powerful, pathologically evil baron."

TOSCA also stars tenor William Ferguson (a singer described by The Denver Post as "unforgettable...with a pliable, expressive voice" and by The Advertiser as possessing "an absolutely swoonworthy" top range) as Spoletta, baritone Dale Travis in his TDO debut as the Sacristan, and bass Ryan Kusteras Cesare Angelotti, an escaped political prisoner.

This breathtaking, classic period production was designed by Ulisse Santicchi, an Italian master of the craft.

TOSCA is based on the 1887 play La Tosca by Victorien Sardou that opened with iconic French actress Sarah Bernhardt in the title role. Two years after its premiere, Puccini considered setting the play to music. Its premiere in Rome in January 1900 was a success with most of the audiences, but the chief opera critics were unimpressed. However, due in part to Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini's subsequent performances in Milan later that year, TOSCA was grudgingly granted the respect it deserved and today is the most recorded of Puccini's operas.

"There will always be a place for TOSCA in the world's great opera houses," explains Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny, "because there will always be a place for great music and compelling stories that allow us to experience the past, as well as the future, and to care deeply about what we discover there."

Sung in Italian, with English language translations projected above the stage, TOSCA can be experienced at any of five additional performances: November 8(m), 11, 14, 20 & 22(m), 2015 in the Winspear Opera House with tickets starting at just $19. They may be purchased online, 24/7, at www.dallasopera.org or by contacting the friendly professionals in The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000.


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