Portland, OR. Portland Opera is celebrating a return to in-person performances with three performances of Puccini’s grand opera Tosca at the Keller Auditorium. The performances of Tosca are on October 29th, 31st, and November 6th. “We are over the moon to be returning to the Keller Auditorium this Friday for the first time in 727 days,” says General Director Sue Dixon. “Tosca is the perfect opera for our return to the theater after all of this time — it’s grand, traditional, passionate, and beloved. It’s really a classic for a reason.” This production will feature a number of company debuts, including tenor Noah Stewart as Cavaradossi, seen above, and Soprano Alexandra LoBianco will make her Portland Opera debut in the title role.

The piece tells the story of Tosca, a renowned diva, in Rome in 1800. An artist-activist has won her heart, and his revolutionary sympathies provoke the wrath of Scarpia, the corrupt chief of police. Her devotion and moral resistance are challenged by abuses of power, attempted rape, and tragedy—as this high drama builds to its haunting finale.

Gordon Hawkins as Scarpia and Alexandra LoBianco in the title role of Puccini’s Tosca. Photo by Cory Weaver/Portland Opera.

Dixon continues; “We’ve spent the last 18 months following the most up-to-date guidance, shifting our policies, and keeping health and well-being at the forefront of our decision-making. We are committed to keeping everyone involved safe. For this reason, all audience members must show proof of vaccination or negative PCR test to attend a show at Portland Opera this season, and everyone is required to wear a mask inside the theater (except when consuming food or beverages). Audience members will be asked to present this proof of full vaccine or negative COVID-19 test result, as well as verify their ID, prior to entering the theater to have their tickets scanned. At this point, children under the age of 12 (for whom there is not currently an available vaccine) will not be admitted to performances. We’ve also worked with our unions to create a COVID action plan for our cast, crew, and staff working on Tosca.” Detailed information about Portland Opera’s COVID-19 policies can be found here. If postponed, alternate COVID-19 dates for this production are May 13 – 21, 2022.

“We recognize that some people may not be ready to come back to the theater in person – and that is okay! We launched a digital channel, Portland Opera Onscreen, as a way to connect with our audience and perform throughout the pandemic, and we will continue to stream our performances here into the future. For Tosca, audience members can stream the opera on demand November 16th-December 31st.”

With the launch of the 21/22 season, Portland Opera welcomes Artistic Director Priti Gandhi, who joined the staff in early September. “I am delighted to be here in Portland for my first production as Artistic Director, and to welcome this incredible cast and creative team to Portland” shares Gandhi. “Tosca is full of passion, romance, tragedy, and politics. It is the perfect grand opera for a return to the theater.”

Noah Stewart as Cavaradossi and Damien Geter as Angelotti in Puccini’s Tosca. Photo by Cory Weaver/Portland Opera.

Soprano Alexandra LoBianco, whose performance as Tosca has been described as “thrilling” by Opera News, will make her Portland Opera debut in the title role. This production will feature a number of company debuts, including tenor Noah Stewart as Cavaradossi, baritone Gordon Hawkins as Scarpia, and tenor Katherine Goforth as Spoletta. Baritone Deac Guidi returns to Portland Opera as Sacristan, bass-baritone Damien Geter (Portland Opera’s co-artistic advisor) returns as Angelotti and the Jailer, and baritone Zachary Lenox returns as Sciarrone.

Conductor Tiffany Chang will conduct Puccini’s lush score, which features the beloved arias “Vissi d’arte,” “E lucevan le stelle,” and “Recondita armonia.” Chang, who makes her debut at Portland Opera as well as Opera Columbus this season, serves as artist-faculty at Oberlin Conservatory and Berklee College of Music, and was a recipient of a 2020 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award as well as a recent OPERA America Grant for Women Stage Directors and Conductors.

Stage director Linda Brovsky will make her Portland Opera debut directing this grand, traditional production. Performances will also feature the talented local and regional musicians who make up Portland Opera’s orchestra and chorus.

From Portland Opera:

Portland Opera appreciates the ongoing support of funders including the National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon Arts Commission, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Multnomah County Cultural Coalition, Oregon Community Foundation, and the Regional Arts & Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and the Arts Education & Access Fund.

You can find more information about Tosca here, and for more information, and to purchase tickets visit portlandopera.org or call Patron Services at 503-241-1802. For more information, patrons may also contact the Opera Concierge at [email protected], Monday through Friday from 10 PM–5 PM.