Tickets for Tosca and the rest of the 2017 season go on sale Saturday (3/18) at 10 am. Today’s inspiration comes courtesy of soprano Alexandra Loutsion, who sings the title role in our July 14 production on the big stage.
What is it like to prepare an iconic role like this? How does Alex reconcile the psychological depth and vocal prowess required for this character? Let’s hear about it in her own words.
Singing Tosca is like finding a part of myself that I have been searching for my entire life. From the moment I cracked the score, I felt her come alive inside of me. I remember listening to my first opera CD in high school and hearing Maria Callas sing “Vissi d’Arte.” There was an aching beauty and fiery passion in her delivery that forced me to play the CD over and over again. I secretly hoped that I could do that someday too.
Little did I know, “Vissi d’Arte” was just the tip of the iceberg. While I do love singing THE aria, I love the role even more. To me, it is vocal and dramatic perfection. Tosca is a woman who spans the gamut-from sweet, sexy and funny, to terrified, strong and determined; no emotion goes untouched. Her desires for love, art, and God are simple, but her complex nature gets in the way of achieving them.
The vocal writing is masterful; this role is all about colors. There are beautiful lines, crazy leaps, wild high notes, and earthy chest tones. I feel like a painter dipping my brush into a palette, trying to choose the colors carefully so as to bring the text and music alive.
I love this character. I understand her. I don’t always agree with Puccini’s portrayal of women, but in this case, I think he absolutely nailed it. I love that he celebrates the complexity of our emotions, and the ways we navigate impossible situations. I love that Tosca puts herself on equal footing with Scarpia – she challenges him and never submits, even in her death.
It is an honor to tackle this character, and this opera brings me unadulterated joy. My hope is to continue to strive to deliver in the same way Maria Callas did on that opera hits CD I listened to so many years ago. I want to make people feel.
Photo by Kristin Hoebermann