Ravishing broadcast of ‘Tosca’ opera comes to town

Town Hall Theater presents Puccini’s “Tosca” live from the MET,  the first opera broadcast of 2018, on Saturday, Jan. 27, at 1 p.m. Sir David McVicar’s new production offers a splendid backdrop for two extraordinary sopranos sharing the title role of the jealous prima donna: Sonya Yoncheva and Anna Netrebko. Vittorio Grigolo and Marcelo Álvarez alternate in the role of Tosca’s revolutionary artist lover Cavaradossi, with Željko Lu?i? and Michael Volle as the depraved police chief Scarpia. Emmanuel Villaume and Bertrand de Billy share conducting duties.
Puccini’s melodrama about a volatile diva, a sadistic police chief, and an idealistic artist has offended and thrilled audiences for more than a century. Critics, for their part, have often had problems with “Tosca’s” rather grungy subject matter, the directness and intensity of its score, and the crowd-pleasing dramatic opportunities it provides for its lead roles. But these same aspects have made “Tosca” one of a handful of iconic works that seem to represent opera in the public imagination. Tosca’s popularity is further secured by a superb and exhilarating dramatic sweep, a driving score of abundant melody and theatrical shrewdness, and a career-defining title role.
No opera is more tied to its setting than “Tosca,” which takes place in Rome on the morning of June 17, 1800, through dawn the following day. The specified settings for each of the three acts — the Church of Sant’Andrea della Valle, Palazzo Farnese, and Castel Sant’Angelo — are familiar monuments in the city and can still be visited today. While the libretto takes some liberties with the facts, historical issues form a basis for the opera: the people of Rome are awaiting news of the Battle of Marengo in northern Italy, which will decide the fate of their symbolically powerful city.
A free talk about this opera will be given in the studio on the lower level before the broadcast at 12:15 p.m. (45 minutes before the start time) by Scott Morrison, courtesy of the Opera Company of Middlebury. Run time is approximately 2 hours and 53 minutes.
Tickets are $24, $10 for students, and may be purchased at townhalltheater.org, by phone at (802) 382-9222 or in person at the Town Hall Theater Box Office (daily except Sunday, 12-5 p.m.)
Editor’s Note: “Tosca” will also be shown at the Paramount Theater in Rutland, on Saturday, Jan. 27, 1 p.m.

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