Onstage, Tosca is filled with drama, but offstage….well, reconnecting with good friends is really what makes this job fun and worthwhile.
It is easy in our business to fall into the trap of thinking that this is a cut throat, mean spirited, step-on-the-next-guy-in-line business, but working on this production of Tosca reminds me that it can be something much different. I am not naive enough to think that there aren’t some unpleasantries that occur, but in reality, the opera business contains a lot of really great folks – and our production is populated with them!
I count myself lucky to be able to work with people I both respect, and count as friends. Our Spoletta, Frank Kelley, and I have known each other since college days, and once did a farewell recital together, before we both went off to England to study. What a joy to have him with us, and what a fine artist to boot! Our Scarpia, Todd Thomas, and Sacristan, Matthew Lau, and I, were all in a production of La Boheme together at Opera Columbus. These are two wonderful singers, and two great guys!
I have worked with and hired Dean Anthony many times. A fine singer, Dean has made the transition to stage director, and I am thrilled to have him join us.
Our Angelotti, Jamie Offenbach, I count as a more recent friend, having met him when I directed Rigoletto in Hawaii. He’s become a regular face (and voice!) at the Florentine since. I first met Cindy Lawrence, our Tosca, when she did Madama Butterfly at Lake George Opera. Her world-class artistry is combined with a refreshing down to earth quality, which makes her an always-welcome guest. I can thank the Florentine for Renzo Zulian, our Cavaradossi. This affable, golden voiced Venetian was last here for Aida, and it is a pleasure to welcome him back. And of course, Joe Rescigno, our Maestro, and I, go back to my singing days when I sang on stage with him.
So, as you can see, “behind the scenes”, an opera cast is made up of people who not only connect to the audience, but to each other as well!