Puccini's TOSACA Comes To UF's Phillips Center 4/16, 4/18

Political intrigue, war, jealousy and love embroil the heroine Tosca as she fights to save her true love from dark forces. Timeless themes such as these are combined with powerful music, great singing, and fantastic staging and sets to bring the opera alive for contemporary audiences during two performances at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Florida.

The College of Fine Arts in cooperation with the University of Florida Performing Arts presents Tosca by Giacomo Puccini (in Italian with English supertitles) April 16 and 18.

"Tosca is one of the most beloved operas of all time," says Dr. Anthony Offerle, director of UF Opera Theatre in the College of Fine Arts. "There is something about combining this ageless story with Puccini's incredibly beautiful music that keeps audiences returning to the theatre to see it again and again."

Intense drama and passion erupt in this story of the beautiful Tosca, a woman fighting for her lover's life in a time of political turmoil. Elizabeth Graham, world-renowned soprano and School of Music professor of voice, joins the cast in the title role. Tenor Michael Austin from Stuttgart, Germany adds his powerful voice to the stage as Cavaradossi. Dr. Offerle brings together this ensemble of internationally recognized artists along with the talented graduate and undergraduate performers from the College of Fine Arts.

"We are so very fortunate to have Liz Graham sharing her beautiful voice with us this year," says Offerle. "It is an amazing opportunity for our UF students to sing alongside someone of her international stature. She has performed in some of the world's greatest opera houses and will captivate the audience in the role of Tosca."

Celebrated stage director and head of UF School of Theatre and Dance's music theatre program, Tony Mata, and the 80-piece University of Florida Symphony Orchestra, both of whom contributed to the success of last year's La Traviata, will once again join the Opera Theatre for this gala production. With beautifully created costumes and lavish sets built by one of America's most renowned theatre companies, this production will produce an evening of grand opera.

The University of Florida Opera Theatre continues the School of Music's rich tradition of opera performance by offering promising young opera singers numerous stage opportunities in a variety of styles and performing venues. The College of Fine Arts graduate and undergraduate voice students comprise the cast of performers. This program affords these up-and-coming artists the opportunity to develop their skills through a variety of stage experiences. One of the Opera Theatre's foremost goals is to introduce the exciting world of opera to the regional community by producing musical dramas that appeal to a wide range of audiences.

The College of Fine Arts

The College of Fine Arts at the University of Florida offers baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. Approximately 1,100 students are pursuing majors in degrees offered by the College of Fine Arts under the direction of 100 faculty members in its three schools - the School of Art and Art History, School of Music, School of Theatre and Dance. In addition to its schools, the college is composed of its centers, institutes and affiliates: Center for the Arts and Public Policy, Center for World Arts, Center for the Arts in Healthcare Research and Education, Digital Worlds Institute, University Galleries, Visual Resources Center, and the college program of the New World School of the Arts in Miami. www.arts.ufl.edu.

UF Opera Theatre in Tosca
Thursday, April 16, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 18, 7:30 p.m.
Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Ticket Prices:

Buy tickets online at www.ticketmaster.com
$35, Orchestra Rows A-P and Mezzanine;
$30, Orchestra Rows Q-Z;
$25, Balcony;

Web sites: University of Florida Performing Arts: www.performingarts.ufl.edu

To Purchase tickets, call the Phillips Center Box Office at 352-392-ARTS (2787) or 800-905-ARTS (toll-free within Florida) or call Ticketmaster at 800-277-1700 (toll-free). Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Phillips Center Box Office, the University Box Office at the University of Florida Reitz Union or from any Ticketmaster outlet, or online at www.ticketmaster.com. Cash, checks, MasterCard and Visa are accepted.

UF students may purchase $10 tickets (with a valid student ID) at the Phillips Center Box Office and the University Box Office at the Reitz Union. Other students may purchase $10 student tickets (in the balcony) at the Phillips Center Box Office.

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