Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA

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San Francisco Opera unveils a new production of Giacomo Puccini's Tosca on Wednesday, October 3, with a cast led by Italian soprano Carmen Giannattasio in her Company and role debuts as Tosca, tenor Brian Jagde as Cavaradossi and baritone Scott Hendricks as Baron Scarpia with conductor Leo Hussain leading the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in his first performances with the Company. Puccini's monumental work, which has a distinguished history at San Francisco Opera, will be staged by American director Shawna Lucey with new sets and costumes designed by Robert Innes Hopkins and built entirely in San Francisco Opera's scenic and costume shops.

One of opera's most popular and frequently performed works, Puccini's tragedy follows the patriotic artist Mario Cavaradossi and his beloved Floria Tosca, an opera singer, as they attempt to evade the corrupt authorities in Napoleonic-era Rome. The opera's themes of love, lust and murder inspired Puccini to compose some of his most memorable and dramatic music, including Tosca's aria "Vissi d'arte" and the thrilling Te Deum that concludes the first act.

Since earning first prize at Plácido Domingo's Operalia, The World Opera Competition, in 2002, Carmen Giannattasio has won critical and popular acclaim on the world's leading opera stages, including Milan's Teatro alla Scala, London's Royal Opera, Covent Garden and New York's Metropolitan Opera. Praised for her "melting tone" (Financial Times) and "ravishing" (Independent) performances in the works of Bellini, Donizetti, Leoncavallo, Puccini and Verdi, the Italian soprano adds Tosca to her gallery of portrayals in this highly-anticipated San Francisco Opera debut engagement. As a special friend of the fine jewelry house Bulgari and Milanese couture designer Antonio Riva, Giannattasio melds artistry and glamour. She has been affectionately called the "Lady Gaga of opera" by Plácido Domingo for her bold and evolving artistry and style.

Last heard locally in role debuts as Calaf in Puccini's Turandot and Radames in Verdi's Aida, American tenor Brian Jagde portrays Cavaradossi, a role he has performed on the War Memorial Opera House stage in previous seasons to great acclaim. The former Merola Opera Program alumnus and San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow has emerged in recent seasons as one of the leading tenors of his generation winning praise at London's Royal Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Munich's Bavarian State Opera, Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre and the Arena di Verona.

Baritone Scott Hendricks assumes the pivotal role of Rome's corrupt chief of police, Scarpia. An esteemed interpreter of a wide range of operatic roles, Hendricks' Scarpia has been applauded at London's Royal Opera, the Opéra National de Paris, the Bregenz Festival and Munich's Bavarian State Opera among other stages. Opera Magazine observed, "He may bring muscular line to any ensemble, but [Hendricks] holds his own on stage through sheer musical intelligence and varied coloring of his voice."

The cast of Tosca is completed by San Francisco Opera veteran bass-baritone Dale Travis as the Sacristan, tenor Joel Sorensenas Spoletta, baritone Hadleigh Adams as Angelotti, baritone Andrew Manea as Sciarrone and bass-baritone Christian Pursell as the Jailer. British conductor Leo Hussain, former music director of the Opéra de Rouen and Salzburg Landestheater, makes his Company debut leading the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Chorus and cast. Ian Robertson prepares the San Francisco Opera Chorus.

Shawna Lucey made her San Francisco Opera directorial debut last season with the acclaimed presentation of Verdi's La Traviata. This past summer, Lucey scored a critical and popular hit with her staging of Gioachino Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri at the 2018 Santa Fe Opera Festival and returns to that theater in 2019 for Bizet's Les Pêcheurs de Perles. The sets and costumes of this new production are designed by Robert Innes Hopkins, whose previous work on the War Memorial Opera House stage includes Janá?ek's The Cunning Little Vixen (2004), L'Italiana in Algeri (2005) and Wagner's Lohengrin (2012). Michael James Clark is lighting designer and the fight director is Dave Maier.

Beginning with the Company's 1923 inaugural season at the Civic Auditorium, Tosca has occupied a significant role in San Francisco Opera history. Presented in 39 of the Company's 96 seasons with extraordinary casts, the opera was chosen for San Francisco Opera's first opening night in its new home, the beaux-arts War Memorial Opera House, on October 15, 1932. The Company's first new production of Tosca was staged by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle in 1972 to honor the Company's 50th anniversary and Pier Luigi Pizzi staged the opera in 1987 with new sets and costumes. The Company's original Tosca was recreated in 1997 in an archival production by Thierry Bosquet which commemorated the reopening of the Opera House following closure for seismic retrofitting. Lucey and Hopkins' new vision for Puccini's work is the fourth original production in Company history.

Sung in Italian with English supertitles, the nine performances of Tosca are scheduled for October 3 (7:30 p.m.), October 7 (2 p.m.),October 11 (7:30 p.m.), October 14 (2 p.m.), October 17 (7:30 p.m.), October 20 (7:30 p.m.), October 23 (7:30 p.m.), October 26(7:30 p.m.) and October 30 (7:30 p.m.), 2018.

Photo Credit: Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

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Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Act I of Puccini's "Tosca" with Brian Jagde as Cavaradossi and Dale Travis as the Sacristan

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Brian Jagde as Cavaradossi

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Brian Jagde as Cavaradossi and Hadleigh Adams as Angelotti

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Carmen Giannattasio in the title role

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Carmen Giannattasio as Tosca and Brian Jagde as Cavaradossi

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Carmen Giannattasio as Tosca and Brian Jagde as Cavaradossi

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Scott Hendricks as Scarpia and Dale Travis as the Sacristan

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Joel Sorensen as Spoletta

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Scott Hendricks as Scarpia

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Act I of Puccini's "Tosca" with Scott Hendricks as Scarpia

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Act II of Puccini's "Tosca" with Scott Hendricks as Scarpia, Joel Sorensen as Spoletta and Carmen Giannattasio as Tosca

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Brian Jagde as Cavaradossi

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Carmen Giannattasio in the title role

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Carmen Giannattasio as Tosca and Scott Hendricks as Scarpia

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Scott Hendricks as Scarpia

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Carmen Giannattasio in the title role

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Carmen Giannattasio in the title role

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Carmen Giannattasio in the title role

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Brian Jagde as Cavaradossi

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's TOSCA
Carmen Giannattasio in the title role



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