February 24-March 6
Lowell House Dining Hall
Directed by Michael A. Yashinsky ’11
Music directed by Channing Yu
Produced by Ryan M. Kichler
Love is complicated enough as it is, but throw politics into the mix and, inevitably, it will remain unrequited. The plot of composer Giacomo Puccini’s “Tosca” explores political intrigue and its ruinous influences on the lives of happy people. This haunting opera pits the police baron Scarpia against lovers Floria Tosca and Mario Cavaradossi, a singer and painter respectively. Set in Napoleonic Italy, the story will be brought to life by the Lowell House Opera—albeit with a twist.
“I believe I’m staying true to the essence and meaning [of the opera],” says Director Michael A. Yashinsky ’11, “but I’m moving it into the twentieth century.” Yashinsky has set his rendition of “Tosca” in fascist Italy, where Mussolini will reprise Napoleon’s tyrannical role.
Yashinsky says that the temporal and geographical shift of the opera has been an artistically liberating move. “If Tosca is in a panic, she can call her friend on the phone. It’s closer to real life, and that’s what this story is about: real people undergoing terribly real stories.”
The opera, which will be sung in Italian with projected English subtitles, features a cast mainly composed of professional vocalists from around the Boston area, with undergraduates primarily included in the chorus. Because of the opera’s strenuous demands on the performers, LHO in fact retains a double cast for this production.
“It’s been a crazily short process,” says Yashinsky of rehearsal, which began just after winter break. He is, however, confident that their dedicated work has been thorough. “School and opera,” he explains. “That’s how we live.”
—Lauren B. Paul