27 Aug. 2017 Concert

CAST:

Lee Abrahmsen (Soprano)

TOSCA

Possessing a voice “with a deliciously full-bodied tone, rich in expression and control” and a “radiant, soaring sound”, Australian soprano Lee Abrahmsen is a multi-award winning soprano both on the operatic stage and concert platform.

Graduating from Melbourne University with an honours degree in Music and a Diploma of Education, Lee pursued a period of voice study and performance opportunities in Europe with Antonio Moretti-Pananti (Florence), Daniel Ferro Vocal Program and Festival (Tuscany), Bel Canto Festival (Holland) and in Australia at the Lisa Gasteen National Opera School.

Her many Australian Awards include the 86th Herald Sun Aria, the 2014 MOST Opera Awards 4MBS Performance Prize; the 2013 MOST Opera Awards Royal Over-Seas League Prize; the 2013 Acclaim Awards Italian Fellowship Award; the 2012 Melbourne Welsh Male Choir Singer of the Year Competition; and the Austral Salon National Scholarship. In 2012 Lee was nominated for a Green Room Award for her performance as Valencienne in Lehar’s Merry Widow for Melbourne Opera. Lee has been heard regularly in performances recorded by ABC Classic FM; and appears on Qantas In-Flight Entertainment singing the Richard Strauss Four Last Songs with Omega Ensemble.

Lee has appeared as principal artist with Melbourne Opera, Victorian Opera, Lyric Opera Melbourne, IOpera and CoOpera. Roles include: Elisabeth in Tannhäuser, Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Marguerite in Faust, CioCioSan in Madama Butterfly, Mimi in La Bohème, Violetta in La Traviata, Micaëla in Carmen, Elvira in I Puritani, Valencienne in The Merry Widow, Leila in The Pearl Fishers, Title role in Stella by Marshall-Hall, Clotilde in Norma, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Suor Infermiera in Suor Angelica, Lisa in La Sonnambula, Fifth Maid in Elektra, Clorinda in La Cenerentola and Olympia in Erwin und Elmire by Anna Amalia.

Matt Reardon Matt Reardon (Tenor)

CAVARADOSSI

Tenor Matthew Reardon has recently returned to Australia after studying and performing overseas. Mostly recently he made his role debut as Don Jose in Carmen with Festival Opera in New Zealand.

During the American Summer of 2016, Matthew spent time working with Marilyn Horne at the Music Academy of the West Summer Festival, in Santa Barbara, California, where he sang the role of Vasek in The Bartered Bride by Smetana. He also completed his Masters of Opera at the Wales International Academy of Voice in Cardiff with Dennis O’Neill, while on a full scholarship from the Australian International Opera Award and the Tait Memorial Trust. While back at home Matthew is a graduate from the Dame Nellie Melba Opera Trust Program in Melbourne and the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).

Matthew has performed the roles of Ferrando in Mozart’s, Cosi Fan Tutte and Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème. He was also a member of West Australian Opera and Opera Australia Chorus.

Simon MeadowsSimon Meadows (Baritone)

BARON SCARPIA

Simon studied at the Victorian College of the Arts graduating with a BA (Music) and a Grad Dip (Opera) where he was the recipient of the Mabel Kent Singing Scholarship. He was a winner of the Armstead vocal scholarship for the Music Lovers Society of Victoria as well as a finalist in the Liederfest.

Simon has extensive performance experience and key roles include: Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Speaker in Die Zauberflote and David in Samuel Barber’s A Hand of Bridge for Athenaeum Opera series; Guglielmo in Cosi fan Tutte, Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Cascada in The Merry Widow, Marullo in Rigoletto for Melbourne Opera. Tarquinius in Rape of Lucretia for Lyric Opera Melbourne, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Marcello in La Boheme both with Co-Opera, SA; the Gaoler in Tosca, Il Messaggero in La Traviata (both Opera Australia). Einaugige in Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten (Melbourne International Festival), Musiklehrer in Ariadne auf Naxos and Jimmy in Stuart Greenbaum’s The Parrot Factory (Victorian Opera); Silvio in Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci (Preston Symphony), Dancairo and Morales in Carmen (Eastern Metropolitan Opera).

International performances include: title role in Verdi’s Macbeth (Kennet Opera), Villequier in Chabrier’s Le Malgre Roi Lui (Wexford Festival Opera, Ireland), Escamillo in Carmen (Opera Up Close, London and Melbourne Opera) and Sonora in La Fanciulla del West (Opera Up Close).

In 2014, Simon performed the Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly for Opera Australia Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour. He also performed Tonio in I Pagliacci for Sydney Independent Opera and Marcello for several performances of La Boheme with CitiOpera. In 2016, Simon appeared as Count Almaviva in Michael Gow directed Marriage of Figaro. He continues his association with the national company in 2017, appearing as Morales in their Handa Carmen on the Harbour and tours as the Count in Marriage of Figaro.

 

 

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SYNOPSIS:

Set in Rome at the time of Napoleon’s invasion of Italy, Tosca is a roller coaster story of love, lust, murder and political intrigue. With Puccini’s richly romantic score, it is one of the world’s most loved operas.

A tragic story of passion and jealousy, it tells the story of the tempestuous opera singer Floria Tosca, as she fights to save her lover Cavaradossi from the sadistic police chief Scarpia.

ToscaRome, June 1800
Act One
The church of Sant’Andrea della Valle. Noon.

Angelotti, an escaped political prisoner, takes refuge inside the church of Sant’Andrea della Valle. As he finds a place to hide, a Sacristan appears followed by the painter, Mario Cavaradossi. Cavardossi is  working on a picture of Mary Magdalene, inspired by Angelotti’s sister, Marchesa Attavanti.

When the Sacristan leaves, Angelotti emerges from his hiding place. Cavaradossi, recognises hims and promises to help, but tells him to hide when his lover, the opera singer Floria Tosca, arrives. She is furious that Cavaradossi’s painting of the Madonna is a portrait of another woman. Once Tosca has gone, Angelotti reappears. A cannon shot is heard signaling that the police have discovered Angelotti escape, and he and Cavaradossi flee to the painter’s house.

The Sacristan returns, followed by clerics and choirboys, celebrating rumours of Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of Marengo. The general excitement is cut short by the entrance of Scarpia, Chief of Police, on the trail of Angelotti. When Tosca arrives looking for Cavardossi, Scarpia plays upon her distrust of the Marchesa Attavanti in the hopes of discovering Anglelotti’s hiding place.With her jealousy imfamed, Tosca leaves in a rage and Scarpia orders his men to follow her in the hopes she will lead him to the fugative. A Te Deum of thanksgiving begins and Scarpia declares that he will bend Tosca to his will.

 

Rome_Late_19thCAct Two
Scarpia’s apartment in the Palazzo Farnese. Evening.

In his apartment above the Farnese Palace, Scarpia anticipates the pleasure of having Tosca in his power. Having not been able to find Angelotti, Scarpia’s henchman Spoletta arrives at the appartment with news that they have instead brought Cavardossi in for questioning.

Interrogated by Scarpia, Cavaradossi denies any knowledge of Angelotti and is taken away to be tortured. When Tosca arrives, Scarpia begins interrogating her, using Cavaradossi’s screams to torment her; under this duress, Tosca finally reveals the hiding place.

Cavaradossi is brought back in, badly hurt and hardly conscious. He’s furious to find that Tosca had given Scarpia Angelotti’s location, but at that moment news arrives that the report of a royal victory at Marengo was incorrect and that Napoleon has in fact won. When he shouts in definace to the news, Scarpia orders Cavaradossi’s execution.

Alone with Scarpia, Tosca begs for her lover’s life and Scarpia names his price: she must give herself to him. Seeing no alternative, she agrees, and Scarpia appears to order Spoletta to perform merely a sham execution. Once Scarpia has granted safe‑conduct for Tosca and Cavaradossi to escape from Rome, Tosca stabs him to death, just as he demands ‘payment’ from her.

 

Castel_Sant'AngeloAct Three
The battlements of the Castel Sant’Angelo. The hour before dawn.

A shepherd boy is heard singing in the distance. Cavaradossi enters to await his execution. He tries to write a letter of farewell to Tosca and reflects on the joy she has brought him. Tosca arrives and discloses her plan for their escape. The firing squad duly performs what Tosca believes to be a mock execution. She realises too late that Scarpia has deceived her: the execution was real and Cavaradossi is dead. News of Scarpia’s murder has broken. As Spoletta and his men rush in to arrest Tosca, she leaps over the parapet to her death.

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