This September, opening the 2022/23 Season at the London Coliseum, the English National Opera (ENO) presents Puccini’s much-loved thriller, Tosca. Receiving its UK premiere, this staging was last seen at The Finnish National Opera in 2018.
A stylishly traditional take on Puccini’s riveting classic, this is a tale of danger, passion and murder. With her artist beau Cavaradossi competing for her affections against the sadistic police chief Scarpia, Tosca’s story becomes intertwined with the tumultuous political landscape of Rome. When passion and politics collide, love can prove a fatal weakness.
A production dripping in operatic grandeur and ‘a stunning thriller’ (Helsingin Sanomat), this is the first work by Director Christof Loy to be staged by the ENO. Loy is one of the most sought after opera and theatre directors. He has a long-standing, collaborative relationship with many of the world’s leading opera houses and has received high acclaim for his productions.
Annilese Miskimmon, ENO’s Artistic Director, says: ‘a new Tosca is a real event for any opera house and this beautiful, glamorous staging leads us from the grandeur of a cathedral in Rome straight into the heart of corrupt power. This riveting story of passion, love and murder is unmissable for both first time opera goers and Puccini lovers. We’re thrilled to welcome audiences back to our home, the London Coliseum, where we are offering free tickets for under 21s and discounted tickets for anyone under 35 for all ENO performances, including this operatic treat with the full forces of the ENO Chorus and Orchestra bringing this amazing opera to life.’
Bringing Puccini’s richly romantic score to life with the award-winning ENO Orchestra is British Conductor Leo Hussain. Former Music Director of Opéra de Rouen and Salzburg Landestheater, Hussain is one of Britain’s most exciting conductors. He is making his highly anticipated return to the ENO following 2011’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream where the ‘score glitter[ed] seductively’ (The Guardian). Conducting the final two performances on 2 and 4 November is British Conductor Richard Farnes. Farnes is a former Music Director at Opera North and has conducted for the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Danish Opera and London Symphony Orchestra.
Bringing a ‘rich’ and ‘powerful’ (Irish Independent) quality to the title role of Floria Tosca is Irish soprano Sinéad Campbell-Wallace. She recently sung the role of Tosca at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin where she was ‘indestructible, stunning, thrilling’ (Süddeutsche Zeitung). Through recent seasons, Campbell-Wallace has made fuller dramatic repertoire her speciality and recently made her ENO debut in 2022’s La bohème at the London Coliseum as Mimì. She has since performed alongside Jonas Kaufmann singing the role of Leonore in Fidelio at the Grafenegg Festival.
Making his ENO debut is British tenor Adam Smith who is performing the role of painter Mario Cavaradossi. He is heralded for his full lyric sound with his ‘bright and vibrant voice’ (Opera Today) and striking stage presence. Smith’s dramatic and musical versatility has shone in a broad range of roles on the international stages.
American baritone Noel Bouley will also be making his ENO debut in the role of Baron Scarpia. Following his time as an ensemble member at Deutche Oper Berlin where he performed a variety of roles, including the title role in Der fliegende Holländer, Das Rheingold, Tannhäuser, Madama Butterfly, and Aïda. He has since performed leading roles internationally with ‘arresting vocal presence’ (Backtrack).
South African bass Msimelelo Mbali is singing the role of Cesare Angelotti. Mbali is currently a member of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Programme at The Metropolitan Opera, an alumni of the National Opera Studio and is a rising star on the operatic stage. He is returning to the ENO following his performance in Porgy and Bess (2018).
Returning to the ENO is American ‘heroic baritone’ (Observer) Lucia Lucas singing the role of Sacristan. Lucas made her ENO debut in 2019 with her ‘splendid’ (The Arts Desk) performance of Public Opinion in the new production of Orpheus in the Underworld, directed by Emma Rice. Also in 2019, she made a highly acclaimed performance in the title role of Tulsa Opera’s Don Giovanni, where ‘she was nothing short of a revelation’ (Tulsa World). Lucas is making waves on the operatic stages around the world.
ENO Harewood Artist and British ‘rising young tenor’ (The i) John Findon is singing the role of Spoletta. Findon recently performed in the role of Luke in The Handmaid’s Tale during the ENO’s 2021/22 Season at the London Coliseum, and in the Olivier Award nominated The Cunning Little Vixen he performed the roles of the Innkeeper and the Cock. Following these performances, he had huge success performing the role of The Prince in Garsington Opera’s recent staging of Rusalka. Performing the role of Spoletta on 27 and 29 October is Welsh tenor Aled Hall who has excelled in the character tenor repertoire with many leading opera companies internationally.
Completing the cast is ENO Harewood Artist and a British ‘bass-baritone to watch’ (Culture Whisper) Ossian Huskinson as Sciarrone. Huskinson made his ENO debut in HMS Pinafore during the 2021/22 Season at the London Coliseum and later went on to perform the role of Harašta the Poacher in the ENO’s The Cunning Little Vixen. He will be performing his second engagement of the 2022/23 Season in It’s a Wonderful Life as Angel.
Georg Zlabinger is the Associate Director, Christian Schmidt is the Designer, Olaf Winter is the Lighting Designer, Federico Pacher is the Associate Set Designer, Uta Baatz is the Associate Costume Designer, Kimmo Ruskela is the Associate Lighting Designer, and the translation is by Edmund Tracey.