What’s On: Tosca (Opera Queensland)



13 – 22 June

QPAC Lyric Theatre

Opera Queensland present a new production of Puccini’s politically-charged thriller Tosca, directed by the company’s Artistic Director, Patrick Nolan, and starring award-winning Australian soprano Rachelle Durkin. This production will transplant the opera to 1970s Italy, where political and religious tensions are at breaking point in an era of labour strikes, political assassinations, rioting, bombings, attempted coups, and the influence of religious factions on government.

In a towering cathedral, the artist Cavaradossi (Angus Wood) is engrossed in his painting. When escaped political prisoner Angelotti (Sam Hartley) bursts in, Cavaradossi risks his own life to help him hide from police.

Scarpia (José Carbó), Rome’s tyrannical Chief of Police, suspects Cavaradossi has helped Angelotti to escape. When the famous opera singer Tosca (Durkin) arrives, Scarpia convinces her that Cavaradossi has betrayed her. What ensues is a gripping tale of lust, betrayal, and cold-blooded murder unfolding at breakneck pace.

Nolan said the decision to shift the action from its original 19th century setting to 1970s Italy amplified Tosca’s strength. “The 1970s saw a second wave of feminism emerge, with women claiming their place in a world that had previously refused them,” he said. “There’s a great resonance between the energy of the ‘70s and the energy of the story. At the same time in Italy, there was great political unrest with left and right bitterly fighting which resonates very clearly with the original story.”

Regarded as one of Puccini’s greatest soprano roles alongside Turandot, Nolan said it was more vital than ever for strong female characters to take centre stage.

“We have to address that as an artform, opera often represents women in a very problematic way,” Nolan said. “Even though Tosca dies at the end, she dies of her own hand. She decides that her integrity as a woman and as an artist is more important to her than life itself. I think that’s particularly interesting.”

For ticketing and further information, visit the Opera Queensland website.

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