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Puccini’s melodrama about a volatile diva, a sadistic police chief, and an idealistic artist has offended and thrilled audiences for more than a century. Some have had problems with Tosca’s rather grungy subject matter, the directness and intensity of its score, and the crowd-pleasing dramatic opportunities it provides. These same aspects have made Tosca one of a handful of iconic works that seem to represent opera in the public imagination.
Il Trittico – Gianni Schicchi
Puccini’s longest and most ambitious evening of theater, Il Trittico is a triptych of one-act operas that together present a unique overview of the human experience. Taking a cue from Dante’s Divine Comedy and its three-part journey from desperation to light, Il Trittico offers a modern glimpse at ordinary people striving for happiness.
Adriana Lecouvreur occupies a unique place in the repertory: largely dismissed by experts from its premiere to the present day yet cherished by its fans. The opera is a deft combination of frank emotionalism and flowing lyricism, with pseudo-historical spectacle. Based on a play by Eugène Scribe, the story was inspired by the real-life intrigues of famed actress Adrienne Lecouvreur and the legendary soldier Maurice of Saxony.
Cosi fan tutte
With a name that practically screams “master manipulator,” the cynical Don Alfonso goads two friends into making a not-so-friendly wager. Its outcome will either defend the virtue of the two sisters they love, or expose a duplicitous streak inherent in all women. Unknown to their brides-to-be, a battle of the sexes has begun, and the two men set out to test the faithfulness of their fiancés, but end up tempting Fate in the process.