The Drama of Tosca: Opera Philadelphia bringing a live show to the Mann Center

Opera Philadelphia is taking the tragic tale of Tosca and adapting it for COVID-19.

"We've taken a 3 hour opera, and we've reordered it and reworked it for a 90-minute concert presentation," explains Opera Philadelphia's General Director & President David Devan.

That means no intermission; attendance will be capped at 500, and the cast has been cut to the three main singers.

"I think there's going to be some serious electricity," Devan says, "all three of them are world-renowned principals."

There will be a full, socially distanced orchestra of 60 musicians and a chorus.

"The chorus of 40 is up in the balcony. They're also in six-foot circles," Devan says "and they will be singing with masks on."

The Puccini drama will mark the start of the spring season for the opera.

"Tosca is like one of the original melodramas," Devan says, "It's about a diva; oh, what a great way to come back to live performance!"

In this abridged version of the story, a narrator will bridge any gaps, and for those who aren't quite ready for an in-person show, a $100 donation gets you the next best thing.

"We'll actually make a cut out of you and put you in the empty seats that we need to keep for distancing purposes. So you'll be able to see yourself when we pan the audience," Devan says.

It's dubbed the "Fill the House" campaign.

"We'll also be recording it digitally for our streaming channel," Devan says, "And those with cutouts will get immediate access."

Even as the opera returns to in-person entertainment, Devan says, that digital option will remain, "This year has been about reinvention and finding new ways to connect artists with audiences so we've gone into the TV business."

Opera Philadelphia: The Drama of Tosca | Website

May 5, 7 & 9
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.