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Preview: Tosca at Sunderland Empire

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Puccini's TOSCA
Sunderland Empire
Thursday 24th March 2016

Opera & Ballet International proudly presents an Ellen Kent production with international soloists, highly praised chorus and full orchestra


Starring Vladimir Dragos as Scarpia with International Sopranos Maria Tonina and Alyona Kistenyova as Tosca*

A magnificent,  traditional,   fully-staged   opera,  Tosca   is  set  against the  dramatic landscape  of  Rome  and  the  Napoleonic  Wars.

Directed as a Gothic, Victorian horror story, Puccini’s Tosca is an epic tale of true love and  treachery  featuring  torture,  murder  and  suicide  alongside  some  of  opera’s  best-known music, and is based on a play by Victorien Sardou, it was once described as a “shabby  little  shocker.”

It tells  of  Floria  Tosca’s  true  love  for  artist Mario  Cavaradossi. Tosca  is  forced to enter  into a  deal with the Chief of Police  Baron Scarpia,  in order to save  Cavaradossi,  her  lover,  from  execution.  Scarpia’s  price  is  Tosca’s  seduction,  but she   cannot   go   through   with   it,   and   in   desperation   she   stabs   Scarpia   to   death.  Cavaradossi  is  executed  and,  realising  all  is  lost,  Tosca  throws  herself  from  the battlements to her death.

In  preparation  for  the  current tour  and  her  new  staging of  Tosca,  Ellen Kent  took  a  trip  to Puccini’s  house  in  Italy. 

Ellen Kent said: “It was  quite  magical.  I didn’t think  it  would  be quite so inspiring. It was almost eerie – exactly as you would imagine Puccini to have created, with beautiful memorabilia everywhere. There were his shoes and clothes and pipes and all the models of his operas and his actual scores with all his notes on them”.

She added “My productions are always rather beautiful and I suddenly realised that in my view, I have  been  doing  what  Puccini  would  have  liked  and  wanted.  It felt like meeting somebody I knew”.

With a spectacular new set built in the UK by Set up Scenery, who builds sets for the Royal Opera Covent Garden. This  most  popular  of  operas,  with  its  tender  and  moving  arias Recondita  Armonia, Vissi  d’Arte and E  Lucevan  le  Stelle,  is  a  heady  mixture  of  true  love,  torture  and treachery, with two of the best roles  for tenor and soprano, plus a  pure evil  villain as the baritone.   VLADIMIR  DRAGOS  returns  to  sing  his  most  famous  role  of  Scarpia  after  his acclaimed portrayal of Rigoletto on Ellen Kent’s last tour.

Sung in Italian with English surtitles.

Tickets to performances are on sale now and available in person at the Box Office on High Street West, from the Ticket Centre on 0844 871 3022* or online at*
*Calls cost 7p per minute plus your standard network charge. Booking fees may apply to telephone and online bookings.

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