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Puccini’s Tosca, an opera about all the important things in life — love, lust, betrayal, murder — heads to the Gaillard Center on Sat. May 5 for one night only. The performance serves as a fundraising event for the forthcoming Daniel Island Performing Arts Center, as well as its contributing organizations, and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Tickets for the show start at $43 and are available online.

The Tosca cast features principal artists who have performed their roles on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera, including soprano Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs and baritone Mark Delevan. Originally a French-language dramatic play (La Tosca), Tosca is a three act opera by Giacomo Puccini, set to an Italian libretto from Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. Tosca utilizes the style of verismo, which employs a sort of real-time story-telling.

A 2010 NPR article, “A Shocker in Real Time: Puccini’s ‘Tosca,'” compares Tosca to the TV show 24:

Whether Puccini can truly be described as a “verismo composer” depends on who’s doing the describing. But many of his operas do share elements, and a distinct but hard-to-define aesthetic sensibility, with the verismo style — and with TV’s 24. One of those operas is Tosca, which not only takes a realistic approach to the passage of dramatic time, but also shares 24‘s tendency toward scenes of physical and psychological torture.

Psychological torture? Sign us up. The NPR piece goes on to detail the plot of Tosca (thank you, internet), which essentially features: an escaped political prisoner teaming up with an artist to evade authorities; a famous opera singer, the titular Tosca; the villain, Rome’s chief of police; and some firing squads — all set against the backdrop of Napoleon’s invasion of Italy.


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