Philly Orchestra presents 'Tosca'

The Philadelphia Orchestra is closing its season with a performance that is part classical music concert and part grand Italian opera.

Music Director Yannick Nezet Seguin, considered one of the world's finest opera conductors, will lead the ensemble in a performance of Tosca.

One of Puccini's impassioned tales of love, murder, and redemption, the opera debuted in 1900 but the story is set a century earlier, in Rome, Italy.

"This is one of the absolute staples of the opera repertoire," Jeremy Rothman, Vice President of Artistic Planning for the Philadelphia Orchestra enthuses. "It's got some of the most famous arias and melodies that Puccini ever wrote all in this one opera."

It tells the story of a fierce opera singer-Tosca, her lover and a sadistic police chief.

"And of course it all has the drama wrapped up in this opera libretto," says Rothman. "Incredibly thrilling moments in the opera and also pretty touching and dramatic moments. too."

The Orchestra will be joined by an all-star cast of international singers, including a Bulgarian soprano making her Philadelphia debut performing the lead role.

"Sonya Yoncheva, one of the great rising stars in the opera world, just debuted this role herself at the Metropolitan Opera," says Rothman, who adds that the symphonic staging of Puccini's beloved score will be unlike the traditional opera experience.
"The singers are going to be elevated up above the orchestra. There's going to be costumes. It's going to be some scenic and creative design," says Rothman, creating what he describes as a really unique way to hear opera. "Because the orchestra is up and out of the pit; the orchestra's on stage. So you really get to hear all the details and nuances of the score."

Yannick Nezet Seguin's dual role as music director of the Metropolitan Opera makes this season finale particularly special.

"With Yannick, the orchestra is exploring opera more and more," says Rothman. "To present an opera at the end is really a highlight in a way, to send out our season on a bang."

The Philadelphia Orchestra performs Tosca May 12-19 at the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall. For tickets and showtimes, visit The Arts in Philly and follow them on Twitter at @TheArtsInPhilly
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