Mid Wales Opera has announced that Puccini’s Tosca will be the company’s spring 2019 tour.
The new production of Tosca will be a fully staged production, in partnership with Ensemble Cymru, to nine venues across Wales and the Border opening in Hafren, Newtown, Powys on Saturday February 23rd.
The production’s leading man, Cavaradossi, is to be sung by Charne Rochford: “It’s probably the most perfect opera written. Outrageously catchy tunes, passion bursting from the seams, extremely human characters and MURDER! What’s not to love!?“
The show will feature a Welsh Tosca with Elin Pritchard taking the role. She last performed with MWO in 2014’s Carmen as Micaela.
Since then Elin’s performed with Scottish Opera, Opera North and many others: “I’m Welsh through and through! Fluent speaker and I’m from Rhyl in North Wales, so Bangor and Mold will be very close to home for me!”
The first time Elin sang the role of Tosca she learned it in a weekend! “I had a call from my agent to say they needed a soprano and so I worked my finger to the bone to learn the role and then got the call a few days later to say I’d be taking over. I must have been mad!
“Tosca as a character is wonderful to sing. She has the most glorious music with some huge climactic lines, she’s passionate and has a huge amount of fire in her. Her music with Cavaradossi, especially in act 3 is so beautiful and poignant a complete contrast to what has happened in the act 2 torture scene, however that scene for me is the most exciting and thrilling part in the opera.”
London-born tenor Charne Rochford last sang the role of Cavaradossi for Bermuda Festival. Charne sang the role of Achilles in English Touring Opera’s Olivier Award winning production of Tippet’s King of Priam and other roles with ETO have included Luigi in Il Tabarro and Adorno in Simon Boccanegra.
Internation baritone Nicholas Folwell will make his MWO debut in the role of Scarpia. Nicholas first studied the role of Scarpia as a student in the early 70s with renowned teacher Raimund Herincx. He fell in love with the disreputable, venal character that is Baron Scarpia. Sadly, he had to wait until 2012 before he sang the role in concert and then till 2017 to perform in a staged version.
Nicholas said, “It is always more interesting to perform the “baddies”! Scarpia is the most wonderful role to sing for someone of my voice type. Huge vocal moments interspersed with very subtle quieter sections. One moment he is the hateful chief of police, spitting out orders to his henchmen and the next he is charming and manipulative.
“The opera has the most wonderful Puccini lyricism and is grand opera at its grandest! Opera is known for its love of death but Tosca must be one of the few where all of its major protagonists succumb to a sticky end! First Scarpia (stabbed by Tosca with cutlery from his own table), then Cavaradossi (shot by the apparently fake firing squad) and lastly Tosca herself. She jumps off the battlements of Castel SantAngelo when she discovers the death of her lover, Cavaradossi. On my first visit to Rome, I climbed to the top of the Castel to see for myself. It is believed that Puccini went there himself early one Sunday morning to notate the sound of the various church bells in Rome.”
Sat 23 Feb Hafren opening night
Wed 27Feb Ffwrnes, Llanelli
Sat March 2 Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth
Sat March 9 Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon
Thursday March 14 Pontio, Bangor
Saturday March 16 Courtyard, Hereford
Wed March 20 The Torch, Milford Haven
Sun March 24 Theatr Clwyd, Mold
Wed March 27 The Riverfront, Newport