San Francisco Opera Presents New Production Of Giacomo Puccini's TOSCA
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 Sorensen as 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.
San Francisco Opera celebrates the extraordinary artists who have brought Tosca to life for generations of music lovers with a new exhibition in the foyer of the Opera House featuring artifacts and rare photographs from the Company's archives of artists Claudia Muzio, Maria Jeritza, Dorothy Kirsten, Renata Tebaldi, Carol Vaness; Beniamino Gigli, Jussi Björling, Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti; Lawrence Tibbett and James Morris. The exhibition is open to San Francisco Opera ticket holders at all performances and through San Francisco Opera Guild tours of the War Memorial Opera House from September 27 through October 30.
Tickets for Tosca are priced from $26 to $398. $2 facility fee is included in all Balcony sections. All other sections include a $3 per ticket facility fee. For tickets, visit sfopera.com, call (415) 864-3330 or visit the San Francisco Opera Box Office at 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco. Box Office hours: Monday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Standing Room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the morning of each performance. Standing room tickets are $10 each, cash only, and limited to two tickets per person. Casting, schedules and ticket prices are subject to change.
Each presentation of Tosca at the War Memorial Opera House features a Pre-Opera Talk by music educator Alexandra Amati. Beginning 55 minutes prior to curtain, Pre-Opera Talks are open to tickets holders for the corresponding performance.
OperaVision screens, suspended from the ceiling of the balcony section at select performances, provide close-up and mid-range ensemble shots in high-definition video; English subtitles appear at the bottom of each screen. OperaVision is made possible by the Koret-Taube Media Suite. Visit sfopera.com for OperaVision dates.
The War Memorial Opera House is located at 301 Van Ness Avenue. Patrons are encouraged to use public transportation to attend San Francisco Opera performances. San Francisco Opera is pleased to offer complimentary shuttle service to and from Civic Center BART station for all 2018 Fall mainstage performances. Shuttle service is offered 90 minutes before and 45 minutes following every performance. The War Memorial Opera House is within walking distance of the Civic Center BART Station and near numerous bus lines, including 5, 21, 47, 49 and the F Market Street. For further public transportation information, visit bart.gov and sfmta.com.
Van Ness Construction: Due to construction for the SFMTA Van Ness Improvement Project, vehicles are unable to pick-up and drop-off at 301 Van Ness Avenue, and bus lines 47, 49 and 90 may experience travel delays. Please use the white loading zone at 450 Franklin Street (behind the Opera House) for rideshare pick-up and drop-off. We suggest planning extra time.