Met Opera soprano to perform ‘Tosca’ concert opera

By Im Eun-byel
  • Published : Apr 29, 2019 - 09:41
  • Updated : Apr 29, 2019 - 09:43

The Metropolitan Opera’s Jennifer Rowley, who has been performing “Tosca” at the Met since the 2017-18 season, will take to the stage Tuesday at the Seoul Arts Center in a concert performance of the Puccini opera.

“This is my debut here, so I am excited to bring my ‘Tosca’ to Seoul,” the soprano said at a press conference Thursday at the center.

“Tosca” is one of the three major operas by Puccini, along with “La Boheme” and “Madama Butterfly.” 

Soprano Jennifer Rowley speaks during a press conference held at the Seoul Arts Center, Thursday. (Seoul Arts Center)

Baritone Lucio Gallo (left) and soprano Jennifer Rowley sing during an open rehearsal for “Tosca” at the Seoul Arts Center, Thursday. (Seoul Arts Center)

Originally written by French playwright Victorien Sardou, it takes place in Rome in June of 1800, as Napoleon is on the verge of seizing Europe, telling the love story between three characters: Tosca, Cavaradossi and Scarpia.

The Seoul Arts Center show will take place in form of an opera concert without the theatrical backdrop. With the orchestra on the stage, the singers will perform with minimal acting.

“We only have a small area to show the action. We try hard to keep the character while staying in the area,” the American singer said, referring to her performance in a concert opera with the Philharmonic Orchestra.

“We have all things you’d possibly want in a larger space in a small, intimate setting. You don’t need all the stage.”

Having performed as Tosca over the past two seasons and slated for more performances in the next season, Rowley is affectionate about the character.

“In a way she becomes a woman in one day, she grows from this teenage girl, she has to endure such horribly painful things. In the course of two hours, she is grown. All of these experiences is what makes her such a great character,” she said.

The Seoul Arts Center has been holding a series of concert opera pieces since 2013. “Tosca” is sixth on the list, following “Rigoletto,” “La Traviata,” “Eugene Onegin,” “Turandot” and “The Marriage of Figaro.”

“It’s an honor to be back. It is my third time to be doing a concert opera with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra,” Stephen Carr, the producer of the opera show said.

The show also features tenor Massimo Giordano as Cavaradossi and baritone Lucio Gallo as Scarpio.

Gallo recommended “Tosca” to those new to opera.

“’Tosca’ is a great piece for a first opera. It has a compelling story, so great for a beginner since it has got emotions and the ambience is amazing.”

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)