The New Jersey Association of Verismo kicks off the 2011-2012 performing season of Love, Tragedy, and Suicide with one of Giacomo Puccini’s most popular, suspenseful operas, Tosca,on October 16, 3:00 p.m., at the BergenPAC located at 30 North Van Brunt Streetin Englewood, New Jersey. (SPECIAL DISCOUNT AVAILABLE_SEE BELOW).
Under Artistic Director Lucine Amara, one of the Metropolitan Opera’s finest performers of Tosca, Verismo Opera, the only professional grand opera company in North Jersey, brings this dark, dramatic love triangle of jealousy, treachery, and death set in Rome. Singers from Canada, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania appear in full costume presenting intense, three-dimensional characters and perform on traditional staging. Sung in Italian with English supertitles, the nonprofit company presents Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa’s libretto in four acts based upon Victorien Sardou’s drama, La Tosca.
“Unlike the characters in Sardou’s play, Puccini’s Tosca is deeply rife with three dimensional, intensely different personalities caught up in love—one’s love of country, two romantic hearts, and another’s evil quest for power. Thus, before our eyes, we see Caravadossi, Tosca, and Scarpia come first to life and watch in horror as each of them fatefully meets their end,” explains Amara.
Canadian soprano Evelyn La Quaif, who holds a four-octave range, switched from a highly successful career as a rock ‘n roll and nightclub singer to grand opera. She not only performs the lead role of fiery Floria Tosca, a celebrated opera star, but also directs Verismo Opera’s new production. Her vast repertoire covers more than 30 roles, including La Boheme, Tosca, Isabeau,Madama Butterfly, I Pagliacci, La Traviata, Faustand Lucia di Lammermoor. La Quaif has appeared at various concert halls, such as Weill Recital, Carnegie, and Alice Tully in New York, as well as Vienna and Palermo and most major Canadian houses.
Several New Jersey residents appear in this new production. New Jersey native and Manalapan resident, Philip Alongi, performs the role of Tosca’s love interest, the revolutionary painter Cavaradossi. He hasperformed over a dozen operatic roles, including Cavaradossi in Tosca and Luigi in Il Tabarro with the Lyric Orchestra, Alfredo in La Traviata with Pineda Lyric Opera Company, and Canio in Pagliacci with the Center City Opera Theater of Philadelphia.
Metropolitan Opera singer Ryan Allen of Edgewater, who performed the King of Egypt in Verismo Opera’s triumphant spring 2011 production of Aida, returns to perform Sacristan. Bass Alan Gordon Smulen of Bayonne, who appeared in the Verismo Opera Chorus in Aidaand sang Marullo in the company’s production of Rigoletto in October 2010, appears as Sciarrone, a gendarme.
Bass Joseph Baunoch, Assistant Professor of Voice at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a winner in the 2010 Classical Singer Magazine Convention Competition in the Professional Division, has performed in over 50 different operas. He joins Verismo Opera’s cast of Toscaas Cesare Angelotti.
Tom Schubert, a bass baritone from New York City, is appearing in his first opera as the Jailer. His recent musical theater credits include Jekyll and Hyde(Westchester Broadway Theatre); Cinderella (PRTT/SEA – Best Actor in a Musical ACE Award Nomination); and Love Stinks(The Public Theater-SPF).
Brooklynite Allegra Durante, a coloratura soprano who debuted with Verismo Opera as the Page in Rigolettolast fall and sang with the company’s chorus in Aida, returns to perform the Shepherd boy.
A full orchestra under Principal Conductor/Music Director Anthony Morss plays Puccini’s powerful, beautiful music. Chorus Director Mara Waldman directs the Verismo Opera Chorus. Costume Designer Catherine Mirabella of Hillsdale, New Jerseycreates the company’s costumes with the support of Costume Assistant Barbara Konig of Dumont, New Jersey.
Verismo Opera is offering a time-limited special 30% discounton $55, $45, and$35 tickets available ONLY on Thursday, September 22 through Saturday, September 24 for the performance of TOSCA using the code TOSCA2.
For tickets, call the BergenPAC box office at (201) 227-1030. For special rates for group sales, call (201) 224-2809.
Tosca is made possible, in part, with funds provided by the New Jersey Council on the Arts/Department of State, through grand funds administered by the Bergen County Department of Parks, Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs. Other supporters include The Gerda Lissner Foundation, Inc., Vanguard Charitable Endowment Fund, Paul Weiss Matching Fund, Robert J. Campbell, MD, KSJ and Cesare L. Santeramo, KCSJ.
About New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera
The New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera (Verismo Opera) has been a part of the New Jersey music scene since 1989. The opera company, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, is the only professional grand opera company in Bergen County and northern New Jersey. The organization provides performing opportunities for young musicians and artists and sponsors an annual vocal competition held in November with finals conducted in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, drawing artists from all over the United States, Canada, and Europe. The company also organizes opera workshops and offers affordable, highly professional operatic productions in the Bergen County, New Jersey community.
The company is recognized for providing up and coming performing artists with the training to attain a successful operatic career. Several singers, notably Richard Hobson, Frank Poretta, Emmanuel di Villarosa, James Valenti and Irina Rindzuner of the Metropolitan Opera, started their road to success by performing in Verismo Opera productions.
For more information about the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera, visit its web site, www.njavo.org, view its Facebook page at http://bit.ly/9JXTP8, or call (201) 886-0561.