It would be a tragedy to miss ‘Tosca’ broadcast at Douglass Theatre

November 8, 2013 

Georgian baritone George Gagnidze, right, plays Scarpia, and Patricia Racette plays the title character in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of “Tosca.”

MARTY SOHL — Metropolitan Opera

Macon’s historic Douglass Theatre is again this season fortunate to be one of the select locations presenting “Live in HD” broadcasts from New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Coming Saturday is Puccini’s “Tosca,” a well-known tale of intrigue, jealousy and lust that deserves a spot on any music lover’s bucket list.

With a plot that rivals Shakespeare’s “Othello” for sheer tragedy, “Tosca” is theoretically set in Rome at the time of Napoleon’s invasion. Briefly, Tosca, a singer, is the lover of the painter Cavaradossi, who is at work in a church on a highly sensual painting of Mary Magdalene when the political fugitive Angelotti rushes in to hide. We soon meet the jealous Tosca, who is followed by Scarpia, the police commissioner, in search of Angelotti. The cunning Scarpia, who has deviously heightened Tosca’s jealously, vows that he will capitalize on her character flaw, as the saying goes, to have his way with her. Confusion and bloodshed ensue.

In the current Met production, the title role is sung by soprano Patricia Racette, who enjoys a reputation for excelling in Puccini productions. Tenor Roberto Alagna sings her lover Cavaradossi, while Georgian baritone George Gagnidze plays the lecherous archvillain Scarpia.

Those who are new to opera or who haven’t attended recently will find the Douglass’ collaboration with the Central Georgia Opera Guild to offer the ideal venue, for while Saturday’s broadcast doesn’t begin until 12:55 p.m., at 12:30 p.m. the CGOG will present an Opera Chat. Led by Edward Eikner, the chat is an informative event that provides background information calculated to enrich the audience’s experience.

These HD broadcasts are truly the next best thing to a visit to the Met itself, and the opera guild adds to the festive quality of the occasion by serving champagne and snacks at intermission.

And as for “Tosca,” it’s one of the all-time great tragedies of the operatic stage. It’s only mild hyperbole to say that to miss it would be another tragedy.

“Tosca” Live in HD

When: 12:55 p.m. Saturday; opera chat begins at 12:30 p.m.

Where: Douglass Theatre, 355 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Cost: $24 adults; $20 seniors

Information: www.metopera.org/hdlive; 478-744-2000

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