When the Lyric Opera of Kansas City brings Puccini’s Tosca to life, the classic tale of love, deceit, tyranny, revenge, and sacrifice will offer the dramatic end deserving of closing out the Lyric Opera’s 2021-22 season.
“When they say go out with a bang this is definitely one of those bangs,” says Carol Vaness, the director of Tosca. “The decision to put this show last in the season was a great one. It keeps people excited at times when the opera season is off for a while.”
Tosca tells the classic tale of love and war with a tangled love triangle. Fueled with jealousy over Floria Tosca, a celebrated Roman opera singer, the police of chief antagonizes Tosca’s artist lover for alleged treasonous acts.
From the start, Puccini’s penchant for verismo is as present as ever, and to further tighten the tension, each act packs in twists and terrors. Facing ruthless tyranny and torture, Tosca’s revenge is bathed in violence and sealed with a kiss. She lived for art and love, and her willingness to trust an evil man doesn’t end well.
“Unfortunately, we still find ourselves in a time when ruthless political ambition results in violence,” says Deborah Sandler, general director and CEO of the Lyric Opera. “Tosca is timeless in that way. While there are other motivations at play as well, the story takes place in Rome in the year 1800 during the Napoleonic wars. Tosca is one of Puccini’s most ardent and beautiful operas.”
With Vaness at the helm, Sandler says the production of Tosca is in good hands—the renowned soprano is considered one of the preeminent interpreters of the title role and brings her vision of the opera to Kansas City.
“I’ve sung this part hundreds of times, I remember my first Tosca well because I did it in grad school,” says Vaness. “The thing that strikes me is that it’s an opera that can be exaggerated, but if you keep it real it’s an incredible tragedy. I’m doing some different things with it to make sure that what we accomplish with this opera is true.”
For Vaness, Tosca offers one of Puccini’s most beautiful scores that’s easily accented by production and costumes.
“Tosca is an incredible shocker full of every single emotion—from hatred, to obsession, to great joy, which you really only see in the first act. I think it’s a must-see for everyone,” says Vaness.
Performances of Tosca begin on April 30. Get tickets here.