In the church from the San Francisco Opera Production of Tosca
In the church from the San Francisco Opera Production of Tosca
Photo by Cory Weaver

Next up for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City is a new production of Puccini’s 1900 masterpiece, Tosca. After 115 years, Tosca remains one of the most frequently performed shows in the Grand Opera repertory. The opera will be performed April 18 -26 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Evening curtains are at 7:30 p.m. The April 26 matinee begins at 2:00 p.m.

Tosca is based on a similarly titled 1887 French melodrama. It is performed in three acts and structured as a through-composed work where arias, recitative, choruses, and other elements are woven into a seamless, single musical piece. It is set in Rome at the time of the Napoleonic invasions when Napoleon established a unified government in Italy for the first time replacing the former city states.

Critic Joseph Kerman dismissed Tosca at Puccini’s “shabby little shocker.” But Puccini wrote with the public, not the critics, in mind. Immediate emotional response from the audience was far more important than praise from the critics. The opera offers three roles that any singer in the required voice ranges longs to sing – a dashing heroic tenor, a villainous baritone, and a passionate dramatic soprano.

The Lyric Opera says Tosca is a story filled with lies, lust and corruption as Floria Tosca stars in a role she never desired. When the love of her life is captured by a corrupt police chief, she is forced to make the ultimate bargain, to no avail. This is a traditional presentation of a true classic, filled with heartbreaking arias and touching love duets. Audiences should be aware that Tosca contains depictions of torture, murder and suicide, as well as some of Puccini's best-known lyrical arias.

The Lyric Opera’s production of Tosca stars Melody Moore as Floria Tosca, James Valenti as Mario Cavaradossi, and Gordon Hawkins as Baron Scarpia. Also featured is Ben Wager, Julien Robbins, Scott Wichael, Terence Murphy, Micah Welch , and Matt Black. Tosca is directed by Garnett Bruce. The conductor is Ward Holmquist.

Tosca runs 2 hours 45 minutes with two intermissions. Tickets are available on the Lyric Opera website or by telephoning 816-471-7344.