Tosca is the opera to which you bring your friend who has never seen an opera before.” This, from Minnesota Opera’s Head of Music, Rob Ainsley, perfectly sums up the company’s latest production. Giacomo Puccini’s thrilling score may not feature any arias as famous as the rapturous Nessun Dorma from his last work, Turandot, but it is packed with one gorgeous piece after another.   Tied together by an enthralling story of love, intrigue, jealousy, deception, torture, and murder, Tosca keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

The performers are world-class talents who leave it all on the stage with their breathtaking vocal gymnastics.  Minnesota’s own Kelly Kaduce, the phenomenally-talented soprano who has headlined numerous productions for Minnesota Opera–most recently in the title role of Dvorak’s Rusalka–drew the biggest applause for her portrayal of Floria Tosca, a singer who’s jealousy is preyed upon by the scheming villain, Chief Inspector Scarpia.  The performance we saw featured Kaduce as Tosca, Leonardo Capalbo as Cavaradossi, and Stephen Powell as Scarpia (three performances during the show’s two-week run feature Alexandra LoBianco as Tosca, Dominick Chenes as Cavaradossi, and Mark Walters as Scarpia in order to give the others’ voices a chance to recover).  Capalbo and Kaduce’s voices paired excellently, and their acting talents made the lovers’ passion for each other feel all the more devastated by Scarpia’s deception. Powell’s rich baritone was perfectly matched by the relish he poured into the vile, scheming, and sadistic police chief.

I cannot recommend this opera highly enough.  I was gripped from beginning to end.  If you only see one opera in your life, this won’t be it because after one night with Tosca, you’ll be an opera fan for life.

Tosca is at The Orway now through March 26, 2016. Click here for discount ticket info!