Virginia Opera Presents ‘Tosca’ at Center for the Arts

Posted: February 11, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Tosca poster

Mason’s Center for the Arts invites audiences to the Virginia Opera’s brilliant production of Giacomo Puccini’s beloved opera, “Tosca.”

A tautly suspenseful thriller set in Rome, “Tosca” comes to the Concert Hall stage on Friday, Feb. 13, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 15, at 2 p.m.

This tragedy has moved audiences worldwide with its powerful music and unforgettable characters.

Floria Tosca, a headstrong and celebrated operatic soprano, loves the handsome painter Mario Cavaradossi, whose political activism places him in the crosshairs of the evil Baron Scarpia.

As the chief of police, Scarpia wields his power to set in motion a plan that forces Tosca to satisfy his carnal desires and rid him of Cavaradossi once and for all.

Betrayal, vengeance, seduction and murder all marinate in Puccini’s most compelling score.

Soprano Mary Elizabeth Williams makes her Virginia Opera debut in the title role. Williams is a major discovery with a lush voice and sensitivity to the character and music.

Baritone Stephen Kechulius, also making his Virginia Opera debut, plays the unscrupulous Scarpia. Kechulius commands the stage with his voice and his mere presence.

Returning tenor Michael Hayes completes this passionate triangle as Cavaradossi. Hayes captivated audiences with his singing of “Nessun Dorma” as Calaf in “Turandot” (2004).

Marc Astafan makes his Virginia Opera debut as stage director for this production. He is one of America’s most exciting young directors, bringing his most beloved opera to Virginia’s stages.

Virginia Opera Artistic Director, Peter Mark, conducts the Feb. 13 performance. Mark conducted his 100th Virginia Opera production, “Il Trovatore,” this season.

Associate Conductor and Associate Artistic Director Joseph Walsh will conduct the performance on Feb. 15.

The Virginia Symphony provides the orchestra for the production, which will be sung in Italian with Digitext Supertitles projected above the stage. The production has an estimated running time of two hours and 28 minutes, including two intermissions.

A discussion, free to ticket holders, will begin 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III.

The Center for the Arts is pleased to recognize the generous support of PNC and the PNC Foundation as sponsors of the 2008-09 Great Performances at Mason Season.

Tickets are $86, $72 and $44 (Friday), and $98, $80 and $48 (Sunday). Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit

Write to at