Principal Cast and Creatives Announced for ‘Tosca’
Northern Ireland Opera announces today the principal cast and creatives for their magnificent new production of Tosca, Puccini’s intense political thriller. This iconic tale of murder, mystery and love is directed by award-winning Artistic Director Cameron Menzies (Nominated Best Director for Into The Woods Irish Times’ Irish Theatre Awards 2022) opens at Belfast’s Grand Opera House from 9 – 16 September 2023.
Internationally renowned and award-winning soprano Svetlana Kasyan (OPERA BONN,TEATRO COMUNALE, BOLOGNA, TEATRO DELL’Opera DI ROMA, TEATRO LA FENICE, POLISH NATIONAL OPERA, BOLSHOI THEATRE) is welcomed in the lead role as Floria Tosca with Irish baritone Brendan Collins whose repertoire includes 70 roles (ROYAL ALBERT HALL,NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA, IRISH NATIONAL OPERA, GLYNDEBOURNE FESTIVAL, SCOTTISH OPERA) and is cast as arch nemesis Baron Scarpia.
Tenor Roman Arndt who has toured in concert across the world and made his UK opera debut in 2022 (OPERA NORTH, MARIINSKY THEATRE, SKYKTYVKAR OPERA) joins the line-up playing Tosca’s lover Mario Cavaradossi. Former winner of Northern Ireland Opera’s Festival of Voice, tenor Aaron O’Hare (WELSH NATIONAL OPERA, NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA) returns to NI Opera after performing in their 2021 production of La Bohème in the role of Schaunard to be cast as Spoletta.
Making his debut in Belfast is the charismatic and energetic Brazilian conductor Eduardo Strausser (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Zurich Opera, former resident conductor at Teatro Sao Paulo), who will lead the Ulster Orchestra.
Last year Northern Ireland Opera received widespread critical-acclaim for its production of La Traviata (September 2022) which proved to be The Grand Opera House’s fastest-selling opera ever. This record-breaking National opera company also returns with a 50-strong chorus of Northern Irish and Irish talent.
The creative team for Tosca welcomes Northern Irish designer Niall McKeever (LA TRAVIATA, Grand Opera House, INTO THE WOODS, The Lyric, Belfast, TRANSLATIONS, The National Theatre) nominated for Best Set Design at the 2022 Irish Theatre Awards, in his third artistic collaboration with Northern Ireland Opera. He is also joined by fellow Northern Irish costume designer Gillian Lennox (most recent credits include PINNOCCHIO, DR SCROGGY’S WAR, GOOD VIBRATIONS, ALICE: THE MUSICAL, DOUBLE CROSS, ROUGH GIRLS, DARK OF THE MOON, SHIRLEY VALENTINE all at The Lyric, Belfast).
Artistic Director Cameron Menzies comments: “After the sell out and critical success of Verdi’s La Traviata last year, it is such an honour to be presenting another masterpiece, this time Puccini’s Tosca at the Grand Opera House Belfast. We have been overjoyed by the huge response and the thirst for our work both here in Northern Ireland and Internationally. This newly designed production sees the spectacle of Tosca premiere in Belfast and at its grandest moment having the forces of over 100 artists in the Opera House, to create one of the largest and most dramatic moments ever staged by the company. It is wonderful to welcome back set designer Niall McKeever, new collaborator costume designer Gillian Lennox and welcome conductor Eduardo Strausser to Northern Ireland Opera. We look forward to him working with our international and local artists to create and utilise the contemporary Northern Irish voice in the creation of this well-loved Puccini opera.”
Ian Wilson, Grand Opera House Chief Executive adds: “We are thrilled to welcome NI Opera back to their home following the sell-out success of La Traviata last year, the fastest-selling opera on record at the Grand Opera House. Cameron Menzies is taking opera at the theatre to new heights, and we are delighted to support the company’s work.”
“Alongside the work on stage, NI Opera and the Grand Opera House teams will create and deliver an exciting and engaging outreach programme aimed at connecting communities and audiences with one of the greatest operas ever written.”
Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music and Opera, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said, “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is hugely proud to be principal funder of Northern Ireland Opera and the Ulster Orchestra who make their return to the Grand Opera House this September with Tosca. We’re delighted to once again see the cast feature a wealth of local artists, offering amazing professional development opportunities for them to work alongside world-class talent.”