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Puccini's TOSCA

TOSCA Leaves Audience in a Good Mood, Wanting More!
"The traveling production of TOSCA by Teatro Lirico D'Europa left the CAPACITY audience in a good mood, wishing for more. Soprano, Victoria Litherland, was excellent in the title role. She has sung TOSCA before with the Austin Lyric Opera and last week was in Seattle, starring in MANON LESCAUT. She was paired well with tenor, Cesar Hernandez as Mario. Baritone, Valery Ivanov was appropriately villainous as Scarpia, emphasizing the character's sadistic side rather than his mock piety. The secondary characters were well sung. The sets and costumes were first rate. Everyone deserved the long standing ovation at the final curtain."
               PORTLAND PRESS HERALD - Christopher Hyde - Feb. 2004

Teatro Lirico's TOSCA Comes Up Big!
"DAYTONA BEACH - Everything about Friday's TOSCA, the outstanding final program in the Symphony Society's International Series, was big. From the moment the curtain rose, it was clear that the nearly 50 members of Teatro Lirico's orchestra were too many for Peabody Auditorium's pit. The result was a voluminous sound, just right for the outsized passions in the opera and for the singers who expressed them. Under the direction of Giorgio Lalov, the focus is always firmly on the romantic tragedy TOSCA represents. Teatro Lirico’s cast, elegantly costumed and supported by an orchestra able to express the operas immense emotions, was tremendous in their ability to make every nuance felt. In the title role, the young American soprano shone. Pearce's voice, rich and warm, shifted with emotions that spanned the gamut, and her acting made marvelously theatrical gestures entirely believable. David Corman (Cavaradossi) and Pearce were deeply affecting. Their stunning voices had the greatest impact. They were in every way, terrific."     DAYTONA BEACH NEWS JOURNAL - Laura Stewart - Mar. 2004

TOSCA for OPERA NEW HAMPSHIRE – Manchester, NH - Oct. 2007
“Hi Jenny! Thank you for an amazing and wonderful performance!  Giorgio and your people are great to work with, as seconded by the Palace staff...all most accomodating.  Your principle singers (and the rest) gave our audience what they came for - a truly wonderful operatic experience.  We rec'd much positive feedback (even at intermission) and our supporters are looking forward to Carmen and Aida already! Please thank your principles for attending our post-opera reception.  I hope that they experienced directly from the attendees the appreciation of the hard work that they put into their art, as well as the praise they deserved.  We look forward to a nice, long relationship with you - and so do our audience!”
Thank you again - Richard Bojko
Director, Opera New Hampshire

TOSCA in AMHERST, MA – Nov. 2007
“Hello Jenny,
We've had nothing but wonderful comments about the performance of Tosca last Sunday. We've had a request from a patron for the names of the performers on that day. Unfortunately I did not write it down from the announcement made that afternoon. Many thanks!”
Halina Kusleika, Assistant Director of Programming
Fine Arts Center, University of Massachusetts - Amherst, MA 

TOSCA in New London, CT – Jan. 2008
All your cast were professionals!
What lovely voices - I had spent the weekend in NY, came home yesterday at 2pm, went to the theatre, went home to change, went back to the theatre, had the opera dinner and HAD TO STAY FOR THE WHOLE SHOW BECAUSE I LOVED IT! Thank you for all your hard work in allowing us to present fabulous operas in New London, CT.”
Jean Sigal
Garde Arts Center-New London CT

TOSCA in BOSTON – Jan. 2008
“Teatro Lirico d’Europa’s Tosca was the kind of production in which Puccini’s villain (Baron Scarpia, lecherous chief of the Roman police) wipes a tear from the cheek of the heroine (opera star Floria Tosca) and then licks the tear off his finger. You’ve got to love it! I’ve sat through my share of boring, passionless Toscas and this one was neither. It was fun.

Russian soprano Olga Chernisheva was a terrific Tosca, with her big voice (perhaps too big too much of the time) and glamorous looks, whether boiling over with misguided jealousy or nuzzling the painter Cavaradossi (even in church!), terrorized by her sadistic tormentor (Scarpia will stop torturing her lover only if she agrees to sleep with him) or plunging a knife into his loathsome heart. Her big aria, “Vissi d’arte” (“I lived for art”) was more impressive than heartrending, but find me another soprano who can sing this demanding role so well and also look so convincing in it.

As Scarpia, American bass-baritone William Powers, snarling a menacing laugh as the first-act curtain descended, was not the subtlest of actors. Chewing the scenery, silent-movie-style, seems to be his meat and potatoes, but he responded vividly to every phrase, and he’s got the vocal chops. Handsome Bulgarian tenor Orlin Goranov was in better voice last season as Butterfly’s Pinkerton. Still, the basic timbre of his voice should be the envy of a lot of other tenors, and he and Chernisheva made a most convincing pair of lovers. As the Sacristan, Constantine Videv turned every fussy little gesture into a gem of comic characterization. And Giorgio Dinev was very creepy as Scarpia’s henchman. “      BOSTON PHOENIX – Lloyd Schwartz – Jan. 2008

TOSCA at Keenan Auditorium, Wilmington, NC – Jan. 2008
“Dear Jenny,
It was a smash hit, with the audience standing and shouting and whistling, and their applause was no more than the company deserved for a truly wonderful production - Act 2 being the outstanding Act. Voices costumes, VERY good acting, great sets, and the Sofia Symphony played really well in very cramped conditions.  I was particularly thrilled since this was the first of the productions I've booked through you actually to arrive here, and it bodes very well for the future. It was an absolutely sold-out house, by the way. Speaking of the future, perhaps we can begin to think about possible dates for your Moscow orchestra, and also to look at what operas are available for 09/10. It seems quite likely that I'll be taking two bookings from you again that season, and so I'd ideally like to start to set them up, so that I can then plan the other two events around them.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Fred Wharton
Wilmington Concert Ass.
Keenan Auditorium - Wilmington, NC

TOSCA at River Center Theatre, Columbus, GA – Jan. 2008
“TOSCA it was wonderful.  The voices, the sets and the orchestra were top notch.  Thanks so much for continuing to bring quality opera to the rural communities.”
Enoch C. Morris Jr., Executive Director
River Center Theatre, Columbus GA    

 
TOSCA at Lucas Theatre, Savannah, GA – Jan. 2008
Jenny,
Very well received, a great night all around. I spoke with Giorgio briefly during load-in but I had to leave before the end of the show (battling bronchitis) so did not see him afterwards. Please pass on my thanks!”
Best
Ken Carter, GM
Lucas Theatre, Savannah, GA

 

 

TOSCA in Jacksonville, FL – Jan. 2008                      
“Hi Jenny,
The show was great.   
I thought this was one of the best sets. Certainly the set for Act 1 was beautiful. The cast was great - some great actors in addition to great voices. Scrapia was one of the best I have seen.”
Kindest Regards,
Milton A. Russos, Executive Director
FCCJ Artist Series-Jacksonville, FL

TOSCA AND OPERA GALA – Vale, CO – Feb. 2008
Jenny,
Great audience response. The soloist for TOSCA were all terrific and the orchestra sounded the best it ever had.”
Thanks
KRIS SABEL
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, Vilar Performing Arts Center

TOSCA – Palm Desert, CA – Feb. 2008
“Very nice production as always!  Thanks for bringing it to us.  Looking forward to your new production of Aida next year!”
Mitchell Gershenfeld
Director of Presentations and Theater Operations - McCallum Theatre

TOSCA – University Park, IL – Feb. 2008
“Our Theatre Manager reports that the artist who played Flora (TOSCA) was fantastic, and the tenor was also equally amazing. Our audience wanted autographs from the cast, and apparently loved the show.
Burt Dikelsky
Executive Director
The Center for Performing Arts, University Park IL

TOSCA – Cedar Falls, Iowa – Feb. 2008
“Hello Jenny,
All feedback I have heard this morning has been very positive.  I have heard a number of compliments on the high quality of voices within the company, which is wonderful for us, as we have had negative experiences with opera companies in the past.  We will be starting discussions for booking our 09-10 shortly.  Please send me your offerings for 09-10 whenever you have that set.
Thank you,”
Molly Hackenmiller-Gallagher Bluedorn Perf. Arts Center

TOSCA – Clemson University, Clemson, SC – Feb. 2008
“Jenny,
Tosca was absolutely fabulous - everything you said it would be, and I could not have been more pleased. Our house was about 80% full, in spite of terrible cold and rain.  I was thrilled that people braved the elements to come to the performance.

The singers were incredible and I could not believe how they projected.  The acoustics in our hall are fabulous, and really showed off the singers to the max.  I thought the orchestra was excellent as well. I was mesmerized from the opening chord and just did not want the evening to be over.  Powers was fabulous - what a voice.  I'm sure he and Jennifer Larmore are quite a pair, and that's an interesting bit of news for me to know that they are married because I was so taken with her at Spoleto in 2006.

When is Teatro Lirico in this area in 08-09?  You really do have a wonderful company, and I have received amazing comments - one yesterday from a very snoody and critical patron who has seen many productions at the Met, and she told me that she could not find any fault with the company.

My production supervisor said that your crew was very easy to work with and I love to keep him happy. Thank you for sending such a great show.”  
Have a great day!
Lillian Harder
Brooks Center at Clemson University, Clemson, SC

Teatro "Tosca" a must-see
By HARRIET HOWARD HEITHAUS – NAPLES DAILY NEWS – Feb. 2008
“Naples gave Teatro Lirico its best compliment Monday, standing through four finale bows after the company and three guest stars sailed through “Tosca” at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts.

When Michael Hayes - Mario Cavaradossi, sang his defiant “Vittoria! Vittoria!” the volume set a few ears ringing in the front rows. Hayes slipped commandingly into the role of the ill-fated rebel sympathizer, stoking a beautiful voice with good dramatics. He delivered a wrenching execution-eve “E lucevan le stelle (And the stars were shining)” farewell and duet with Tosca, who has plotted, in vain, her lover’s escape.

In the last two years, Teatro has been embedding guest stars into its productions and performing here with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, a double injection of quality. With Kallen Esperian in the title role, it was another high: a lyric soprano with the acting ability to be the spitfire Tosca. Esperian’s laurels, like Hayes’, are extensive. She has had to hold her own against Placido Domingo and the late Luciano Pavarotti, so she can be expected to inhale a role like this one, as she did Monday.

Floria Tosca’s role isn’t a vocal gymnastic trial. But it’s full of emotional moments such as “Vissi d’arte,” a tearful rebuke to God for having left her in the clutches of Scarpia, the corrupt and lecherous chief of police. For those who don’t know the story line, God delivers, leaving a carving knife nearby for Tosca to plunge into her would-be rapist’s heart. Esperian delivered as well, singing a strong, poignant plea half-prone on the floor, and executing her tormentor ferociously. As Tosca kneels over the body, a horn report in the score sounds, and Esperian snaps her head up, hitting the audience full-force with a look of terror at what she has done. It’s a riveting scene.

As Scarpia, William Powers sounds so much meaner than he looks. He’s got the requisite brutal baritone to make us squirm, deep and dark.

Enabling this continuing roll toward professional perfection is the Philharmonic, under the baton of a veteran operatic conductor, Steven White. There’s no comparison between this orchestra’s ability and any other we’ve heard behind opera, which is going to be a fact of life with a full-time, professional symphony. The Phil’s operas are becoming can’t-wait-for-the-next-one quality.”

TOSCA – Flynn Theatre, Burlington, VT
“Hi Jenny,
 It was a very very good production. We were really thrilled. Olga  was wonderful, as were all the principals. Great singing and really good acting as well. Jane and I couldn't have been happier. Thank you so much and kudos to the company and crew.”
Natalie
(Lane Series – Burlington, VT)


TOSCA – Flynn Theatre, Burlington, VT
Everything went beautifully last night and we were very happy with the performance...excellent singing and acting. Please thank Georgio for us!”
Jane Ambrose
Director, UVM Lane Series, Burlington, VT

Teatro Lirico gives compelling performance of 'Tosca'
 “The touring company, which this season will put on at least 30 productions of the opera, always puts its best foot forward. For this show, the voices were uniformly big and solid and the acting frequently kept pace with the quality of singing. Russian soprano Elena Razglaeva as Tosca had a lovely even range, luscious tones, and a clarity to her phrasing that was appealing. All her arias were done well. She projected the greatest amount of emotion in her second act aria in which she asks God why He rewards her this way. She posed just long enough on the parapet before jumping at the end to allow the huge crowd to get caught up in the moment. There was good chemistry with the charming Bulgarian tenor Orlin Goranov as her lover Cavaradossi. His voice soared easily through his famous arias. He was also light on his feet and ambled about the stage in a comfortable and realistic way. Bass-baritone William Powers projected the lecherous, rapacious character of Scarpia through an expressive face and a nonchalant manner that quickly became malevolent. Except for his sardonic laugh at the end of Act I he never satirized Scarpia. Rather, he seemed to gather all the light around him like a black hole. His superb singing was smooth and elegantly phrased and he colored it with edge or crooned to good effect. Sets, by necessity, were basic but provided enough of a locale. Scarpia’s red and orange “office” was more like Hades but the final parapet with the twilight/dawn light was evocative. The orchestra under Krassimir Topolov did well and gave the singers plenty of space. The principal clarinet was particularly good in the opening of the final big aria in Act III. Supertitles, too, were cogent and well timed. “
                   Schenectady Gazette – Geraldine Freeman – Mar. 2008

TOSCA – NEW JERSEY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER – Newark, NJ
Dear Jenny,
On behalf of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, I would like to thank you for Teatro Lirico D’Europa’s TOSCA on November 11, 2007.
As expected, the performance was simply echilarating for al the attendance.
The 2007-2008 season mark the Tenth Anniversary of NJPAC. From the very beginning we set out to establish a world-class performing arts venue. Teatro Lirico D’Europa’s performance was certainly in the spirit of that mission. It’s no surprise that Jenny Kelly Productions and NJPAC have developed a great relationship through the years. Here’s to a future of many more memorable moments.
Warm regards,
Barake Sele
Assistant Vice President, Programming - NJPAC

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