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TOSCA

The story of a hot-blooded diva with more than a slight mean streak.  A chief of police who's even meaner than she is.  A political prisoner.  And a painter who is to die for.

An Opera in Three Acts
Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa
after Victorien Sardou

Sung in Italian with English surtitles


There will be two 20-minute intermissions 

April 13, 2024 | 7:00
pm
Pre-Performance lecture
with Maestro Steven White | 6:00pm


Church of the Redeemer
5603 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21210

 

SYNOPSIS

Act I.  During the time of the Napoleonic Wars in Rome, Cesare Angelotti, an escaped political prisoner, takes refuge in the church of San'Andrea della Valle.  There, he meets the painter Mario Cavaradossi who is working on a portrait of Angelotti's sister, the Marchese Attavanti, as Mary Magdalene.  As he paints he amuses himself by comparing his subject's beauty to that of his lover, the tempestuous diva Floria Tosca ("Recondita armonia").  When Angelotti recognizes the artist as a fellow revolutionary and ass for his help, Cavaradossi agrees, but decides to hide his involvement from Tosca, who he expects to visit him in the church.  Tosca's jealousy is aroused at Cavaradossi's delay in opening the door, and at the subject of his painting, but he assures her of his love ("Non la sospiri la nostra casetta").  The two revolutionaries leave for a hiding place at Cavaradossi's villa as a cannon shot announces Angelotti's escape.  The church becomes a center of activity as the Sacristan announces that Baron Scarpia, the Chief of Police, will hold a gla celebrating the government's victory.  Scarpia and his men search the church, and suspecting that Tosca and Cavaradossi are implicated in Angelotti's escape, the Baron preys on Tosca's jealousy by suggesting that her lover has been unfaithful with the Marchese.  Knowing that Tosca will immediately confront Cavaradossi, he orders his mean to follow her.  As the Te Deum is sung, Scarpia plans to hang Angelotti, and seduce Tosca.

Act II.  In Scarpia's apartment in the Farnese Palace, the Baron anticipates the enjoyment of Tosca's favors ("Ha più forte sapore").  The spy Spoletta has arrested Cavaradossi, but has not found Angelotti.  When Tosca is summoned to the Palace after singing in the victory gala, Scarpia's questioning and Cavaradossi's screams as he is tortured unnerve her, ad she reveals where Angelotti has hidden.  Cavaradossi is enraged, but shouts defiance as news is brought that Napoleon has won the Battle of Margengo, a major defeat for Scarpia's side.  He is dragged off to prison.  Scarpia then makes his offer — Tosca's body for her lover's life.  In despair, Tosca laments that her devotion to God and her art cannot save her from this fate ("Vissi d'arte").  Scarpia explains that he will order a mock execution, and prepares a safe-conduct pass for Tosca and Cavaradossi.  Tosca stabs him, places candles at his head and a crucifix on his chest, and leaves. 

Act III.  At the Castel Sant'Angelo just before dawn, Cavaradossi writes a last letter to Tosca ("E lucevan le stelle").  She arrives with the safe conduct pass, tells him that she has killed Scarpia, and that the two of them can look forward to a happy future together after the fake execution.  But after the shots have been fired, Tosca realizes that the bullets were real; Scarpia, whose body has been discovered, has exacted revenge from beyond the grave.  She evades the guards and leaps from the battlements to her death, crying that she and Scarpia will meet before God.

 

CAST

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Dominic Armstrong
Cavaradossi

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Andrew Manea
Scarpia

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Samual Keeler
Spoletta

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Kevin Paton-Cole
Angelotti/Jailer

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Doug Byerly
Sacristan

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Bill Gohl
Archbishop of Rome

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Steven White
Conductor

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James Harp
Director

ORCHESTRA

Violin 1

Violin 2

Viola

Cello

Flute

Clarinet

Bassoon

Trumpet

French Horn

Trombone

Timpani/Percussion

Piano

Organ

José Cueto

Celeste Blase

Christof Huebner

Kirsten Walsh

Sarah Nichols

Cheryl Hill

Terry Ewell

Tim White

Michael Hall

James Martin

Barry Dove

James Harp

Bert Landman

CHORUS

Mercy Calhoun-Dion

William Clark

Hakeem Henderson

Henry Hubbard

Peter Juengst

Will Kuethe

Isabel Marcus

Amanda Staub

Hannah Wardell

Emma Webster

CHILDREN'S CHORUS

Calliah Grace O'Brien

Rosalie Koren

Camile Sergeon

Anna Wang

James Harp

Kimberly Christie

Aaron Sherber

Chuck Atwell

Jason Buckwalter

April Forrer

Christopher Fotis

PRODUCTION STAFF

Director

Assistant Director

Stage Manager

Set/Lighting Designer

Production Coordinator

Costumer

Wigs & Make Up

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The Church of the Redeemer

St. Mark's Lutheran Church

Costumes courtesy of Tri-Cities Opera Company, Inc.

Goh's Kung Fu

Columbia Pawtisserie

Engagement of this event's opera performers is through the generosity of the Loretta Lee Ver Valen Endowment Fund for Leading Operatic Artists

Support for Maryland Opera also comes

from these generous organizations:

The Baltimore Opera Company Foundation Fund

The S. James Campbell Fund

The Kenneth S. Battye Charitable Trust

The PNC Foundation - Grow Up Great

The Philip A. Zaffere Foundation

The Cameron & Jane Baird Foundation

The Alvin S. Mintzes Family Trust

The Maryland State Arts Council

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November 11, 2023
7pm

Program

Roméo et Juliette

Music by Charles Gounod | Libretto by Jules Barbier & Michel Carré

Balcony Scene

Les Contes d'Hoffmann

Music by Jacques Offenbach | Libretto by Jules Barbier

Violin Aria

Kleinzach Aria

Werther

Music by Jules Massenet | Libretto by Édouard Blau, Paul Milliet, & Georges Hartmann

Letter Scene

Love Duet

INTERMISSION

Faust

Music by Charles Gounod | Libretto by Jules Barbier & Michel Carré

Scene, Aria, Scene: "Attendez-moi la...Salut! Demeure chaste et pure...Alerte"

Scene, Aria: "Allons, n'y pensons plus!...Ah, je ris!"

Invocation to the Night

Love Duet

Final Scene

CAST

Juliette/Marguerite

Nicklausse/Charlotte

Roméo/Hoffmann

Werther/Faust 

Méphistophélès

Alexandra Razskazoff

Chrystal E. Williams

Devin Eatmon

Dane Suarez

Carl DuPont

ORCHESTRA

Violin

Viola

Cello

Flute

Clarinet

Piano

Organ

Celaya Kirchner, Celeste Blase

Kate Zahradnik

Kirsten Walsh

Sarah Nichols

David Drosinos

James Harp

Bert Landman

James Harp

Aaron Sherber

Chuck Atwell

Jason Buckwalter

PRODUCTION STAFF

Director

Stage Manager

Set/Lighting Designer

Production Coordinator

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The Church of the Redeemer

St. Mark's Lutheran Church

Costumes courtesy of Tri-Cities Opera Company, Inc.

Faust Costumes Designed by Stephen Dell'Aversaro

Roméo et Juliette Costumes Designed by Betty Fredrickson

Werther Costumes Designed by Tri-Cities Opera Costume Shop

Engagement of this event's opera performers is through the generosity of the Loretta Lee Ver Valen Endowment Fund for Leading Operatic Artists

Support for Maryland Opera also comes

from these generous organizations:

The Baltimore Opera Company Foundation Fund

The S. James Campbell Fund

The Kenneth S. Battye Charitable Trust

The PNC Foundation - Grow Up Great

The Philip A. Zaffere Foundation

The Maryland State Arts Council

Synopses

Roméo et Juliette

Time: 14th century

Place: Verona, Italy

The Balcony Scene

 

Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet have fallen in love, even though their families are bitter enemies. Romeo comes to Juliet’s house and hears her speaking of him. They swear their eternal love, and as she is called away, promise to meet the following morning.

Les Contes D’Hoffmann

Time: Early 19th century

Place: Nuremberg, Germany

 

"Violin Aria"

Nicklausse is consoling Hoffmann who despairs of ever finding love.  Nicklausse evokes Hoffmann’s artistic soul that can find solace in art. He likens the shimmering sounds of the violin as the triumphant sound of Love.

 

"Kleinzach Aria"

Hoffmann is regaling his drinking buddies with an old student song about a malformed dwarf named Kleinzach. As he tells the flamboyant tale, he becomes overcome with memories of a beautiful woman whose voice will always echo in his heart.

Werther

Time: Within the period July to December, in an undefined year in the 1780s.

Place: Wetzlar, Germany

Portion of Act 3

The young poet Werther is in love with Charlotte, but she promised her mother on her deathbed that she would marry another, and she did, leaving Werther in despair.

 

Charlotte is at home alone on Christmas Eve. She spends time rereading the letters that she has received from Werther wondering how the young poet is surviving and how she had the strength to send him away. She prays to God for more fortitude to bear her sorrow. Suddenly Werther appears, and while he reads to her some poetry of Ossian, he realizes that she does indeed return his love.

Faust

Time: 16th century

Place: Germany

Garden Scene

The aged philosopher Faust has struck a deal with the devil; he will offer Méphistophélès his soul in exchange for youth and romance. The nefarious plan soon involves the innocent Marguerite.

Faust and the devil come to Marguerite’s garden where they find a simple floral bouquet left by one of Marguerite’s admirers. Faust sends Méphistophélès away in search of a gift for Marguerite and enraptured, idealizes Marguerite as a pure child of nature. Méphistophélès brings in a box containing jewelry and a hand mirror and leaves it on Marguerite's doorstep. The two leave and Marguerite enters pondering her earlier encounter with Faust. Marguerite tries on the jewels and is captivated by how they enhance her beauty.  Méphistophélès enjoys seeing his handiwork and invokes the night to spur on the romance.  Faust romances Marguerite, swearing eternal love. Faust begins to leave but watches her in the shadows, listening to her singing of her love for him.  As Méphistophélès sardonically laughs, Faust runs into her arms.

 

The Prison Scene

Marguerite has borne Faust’s child and murdered it in her insanity; she has been imprisoned and will be executed.  Méphistophélès and Faust enter the prison where they plan to spirit Marguerite away to safety. As the devil leaves to keep watch, Faust laments his complicity in Marguerite’s doom.  She awakens, and recalls their early days of courtship.  The devil appears, insisting that they leave immediately. Marguerite recognizes the demon and calls upon the angels to take her away to heaven.

Cast Biographies

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Alexandra Razskazoff

Juliette/Marguerite

Soprano ALEXANDRA RAZSKAZOFF was named a Grand Finals Winner in the 2022 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition. She is acclaimed by The New York Times as a “richly faceted, slinky soprano,” whose “soprano [is] rich, distinctive of timbre, and penetrating, and possess[es] a lovely bloom on top” (Opera News).  In the 2022-23 season, Alexandra made her house debut with The Atlanta Opera reprising Wellgunde (Das Rheingold) and will return to Teatro Municipal de Santiago to make her role debut as Micaëla (Carmen). She also will reprise the role of Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) in a new production at the notable EL TEC de Monterrey, Mexico in September, 2023.  Alexandra also appeared in a series of concerts with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Maryland Opera, Washington Opera Society, Vero Beach Opera and Panama City Symphony. She reengaged with Palm Beach Opera for their 2023 season to cover Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte) and Alice Ford (Falstaff).  Alexandra made some notable house debuts in spring and summer of 2022, including Beethoven's 9th Symphony with Bozeman Symphony and Mimì (La bohème) at Teatro Municipal de Santiago, Chile. She performed Violetta (La Traviata) with Out of the Box Opera, as well as Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) with Teatro Grattacielo at the Phoenicia International Festival of The Voice.

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Chrystal E. Williams

Nicklausse/Charlotte

Praised by Opera News as “fiery and gorgeous’, mezzo soprano CHRYSTAL E. WILLIAMS has been seen gracing the stage both nationally and internationally. In the 2022-2023 season, Ms. Williams continued her sought after recital work and made her Dayton Opera debut in a reprisal of Rebecca Parker in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, made her role debut as Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus, returned to On Site Opera to sing the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, joined American Lyric Theater in a workshop of Jasmine Barnes’/Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton’s She Who Dared, returns to the English National Opera to make her mainstage debut as Helen in King Priam (COVID19) and Nefertiti in Akhnaten, and is featured with her duo, Forrópera, in the Black Heritage Day celebration in coproduction with Greensboro Opera and the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum Music Festival. March 2024 will mark Ms. Williams’ Carnegie Hall debut in a world premiere written for the duo and American Composers Orchestra by John Glover and Kelley Rourke.The Chrystal E. Williams Scholarship was founded by Ms. Williams in 2004 to help students wishing to pursue a career in the performing arts, and is funded in part by her annual concert, “An Evening with Chrystal E.,” held each June in Norfolk, Virginia. Chrystal E. Williams is an alumna of the Academy of Vocal Arts. She holds a Master of Music degree in Opera Performance from the Yale School of Music, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Voice Performance from Carnegie Mellon University.  

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Devin Eatmon

Roméo/Hoffmann

Tenor DEVIN EATMON from Ocala, Florida. His performance history includes work with the Central Florida Lyric Opera, Chelsea Opera, Opera in the Ozarks, Aspen Music Festival, most recently Opera Colorado, and soon to be Opera Orlando. With both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Voice Performance from Florida State University, Devin studied under the tutelage of former San Francisco Opera staring baritone, David Okerlund. Some of Devin’s most notable collegiate roles include, George Villiers in the Scholastic Premier of Carlisle Floyd’s, Prince of Players, Rodolfo in Giacomo Puccini's, La bohème, Curley in Floyd's, Of Mice and Men, and Edgar Aubrey in Heinrich Marschner’s German Romantic opera, Der Vampyr. Mr. Eatmon accepted a contract offer to be a member of the Apprentice Singer Program at The Santa Fe Opera in the summer of 2020 however, it was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. While at Opera Colorado, he was to cover the role of Don José in their production of Georges Bizet’s, Carmen however, the season was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, Mr. Eatmon is a member of the new operatic/pop fusion trio, The Serenad3, with America’s Got Talent finalist, Fernando Varela as well as internationally acclaimed OperaNews baritone, Craig Irvin. The group has already received critical acclaim having collaborated with some legendary artists, such as David Foster, Gloria Estefan, American Idol’s, Pia Toscano, and the A Capella sensation, Voctave. Devin is currently living in Orlando, Florida and is looking forward to future endeavors with The Serenad3 as well as Opera Orlando.

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Dane Suarez

Werther/Faust

Praised for his "big, heroic voice" (LA Weekly) and "powerful emotions," tenor DANE SUAREZ (he/him) has developed an exciting and varied career. Last season, Dane made his Off-Broadway debut in Kate Tarker's world premiere play Montag at Soho Rep and joined OperaDelaware, The Carolina Philharmonic, Heartbeat OperaPenn Square Opera, and Maryland Opera for concert and gala performances. He returned to New Jersey Festival Orchestra to sing Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi), covered Apollo (Strauss's Daphne) with American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, sang Luigi (Il tabarro) with On Site Opera, sang Turiddu (Cavalleria rusticana) with Lyric Opera of the North, and reprises Don José in Carmen with Festival Opera. Upcoming performances include Scalia (Scalia/Ginsburg) with Anchorage Opera (debut), Don José in La tragédie de Carmen with Newport Classical, Canio in his return to Opera Birmingham.  With Penn Square Opera he performs excerpts from Carmen, Cavalleria rusticana, and Tosca, and he covers Calaf at OperaDelaware. He will also be heard in concert with The Phoenix Symphony as tenor soloist for both a Pops Concert and Handel's Messiah in Spanish.

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Carl DuPont

Méphistophélès

Bass-baritone CARL DUPONT has held center stage in performances at The Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Carolina, Opera Columbus, First Coast Opera, Toledo Opera, Opera Saratoga, Sarasota Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera, El Palacio de Bellas Artes, Opera Company of Brooklyn, the IN Series, Carnegie Hall, and Leipzig Opera. He has been invited to present research and recitals in Salzburg, Rome, Stockholm, New York, Portland, and Miami. He has also proudly toured as a soloist and ensemble member with the American Spiritual Ensemble, the only professional ensemble dedicated to the preservation of the Negro Spiritual. Recent roles include Hawkins Fuller in Fellow Travelers, Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville, and Leporello in Don Giovanni. In concert, his recent highlights include performances with Bach in Baltimore in the title role of Elijah, in recital at The Kennedy Center, and in concert at the Anchorage Festival of Music in Alaska.

DuPont currently serves as an associate professor at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. There, he has developed a course on art song by African American composers, co-chairs the Culturally Inclusive Task Force, and serves on the Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee. 

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