TOSCA UNDER A MICROSCOPE
Intimate Opera presents Puccini’s Tosca
Saturday, April 10 at 2 p.m. Westminster Gardens in Duarte
Friday, April 16 at 8 p.m. Piazza Ballroom, Sheraton Hotel in Pasadena
Sunday, April 18 at 2 p.m. Piazza Ballroom, Sheraton Hotel in Pasadena
Intimate Opera Company is called intimate for good reason; its mission, according to founder Wendy Kikkert is to “share the splendor of opera in intimate settings. “ Nevertheless when Stage Director Stephanie Vlahos was asked to direct the company’s upcoming productions of Puccini’s Tosca – which will take place on Saturday, April 10 at 2 p.m. at Packard Hall at Packard Hall at Westminster Gardens in Duarte; Friday, April 16 at 8 p.m. in the Piazza Ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel in Pasadena; and again on Sunday, April 18 at 2 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel – she found the challenge of working within smaller parameters both daunting and intriguing.
“When I was approached, I was more than delighted for the obvious reason any director would be. For Heaven’s sake, it’s Tosca! ” recalls Vlahos, a professional singer who is perhaps best known in Los Angeles for her work as an opera singer at Los Angeles Opera and whose cabaret, The Gangster Hour, was hailed by Variety as the “Cotton Club meets the Maltese Falcon.”
“Then came the mind-blowing realization: it’s Tosca under a microscope,” the mezzo-soprano continues. “My decision was to attempt to find the grandeur in this grand opera without the scale, the numbers, the lavish mise en scene. I began to explore the sensibility of using the entire house as a stage, to immerse the audience in the world of Tosca with its powerful, passionate and sometimes chilling acoustic.”
Joining Vlahos for Tosca are soprano Tracy Saliefendic as Tosca; tenor Scott Priest as Cavaradossi; and baritone Sang Wook Kwon as Scarpia. In addition, former assistant conductor of Opera Pacific, Kristof Van Gryspeer, will once again join the cast as Music Director and conductor of the production’s chamber orchestra.
The production will be performed in English, with the translation provided by Tom Boyd and orchestra arrangements by James Werner. “The lion’s share of Puccini operas deal with strong women faced with impossible situations, often compromised by their culture and their sex,” Vlahos explains. “What is truly wonderful and modern about Puccini is that all of his women manage their tragic circumstances with courage and dignity that rival any of the great heroes in classical literature.”
Tickets for Tosca are available by calling SC Tickets at 800.888.7287. Prices for the production at Westminster Gardens are $25; $20 for seniors; $15 for students. Tickets for the two performances at the Sheraton Hotel in Pasadena are $35; $30 for seniors; $25 for students.
Packard Hall, Westminster Gardens is located at 1420 Santo Domingo Avenue in Duarte. The Sheraton Hotel is located at 303 East Cordova Street in Pasadena. Intimate Opera Company would especially like to thank the following organizations for their support of the student production on Thursday, April 8: The Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts; The Wells Fargo Foundation; Performance Nissan (Duarte); and The Gas Company.
For more information about the Intimate Opera Company, visit www.intimateopera.net.