Carmen Giannattasio Photo: Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

“Lady Gaga of Opera” Performs in SFO’s “Tosca”

San Francisco Opera unveils a new production of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca this  with a cast led by Italian soprano Carmen Giannattasio in her Company and role debuts as Tosca, tenor Brian Jagde as Cavaradossi and baritone Scott Hendricks as Baron Scarpia with conductor Leo Hussain leading the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in his first performances with the Company.

Puccini’s monumental work, which has a distinguished history at San Francisco Opera, will be staged by American director Shawna Lucey with new sets and costumes designed by Robert Innes Hopkins and built entirely in San Francisco Opera’s scenic and costume shops.

One of opera’s most popular and frequently performed works, Puccini’s tragedy follows the patriotic artist Mario Cavaradossi and his beloved Floria Tosca, an opera singer, as they attempt to evade the corrupt authorities in Napoleonic-era Rome. The opera’s themes of love, lust and murder inspired Puccini to compose some of his most memorable and dramatic music, including Tosca’s aria “Vissi d’arte” and the thrilling Te Deum that concludes the first act.

Since earning first prize at Plácido Domingo’s Operalia, The World Opera Competition, in 2002, Carmen Giannattasio has won critical and popular acclaim on the world’s leading opera stages, including Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, London’s Royal Opera, Covent Garden and New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Praised for her “melting tone” (Financial Times) and “ravishing” (Independent) performances in the works of Bellini, Donizetti, Leoncavallo, Puccini and Verdi, the Italian soprano adds Tosca to her gallery of portrayals in this highly-anticipated San Francisco Opera debut engagement. As a special friend of the fine jewelry house Bulgari and Milanese couture designer Antonio Riva, Giannattasio melds artistry and glamour.

She has been affectionately called the “Lady Gaga of opera” by Plácido Domingo for her bold and evolving artistry and style.

At the same time, San Francisco Opera celebrates the extraordinary artists who have brought Tosca to life for generations of music lovers with a new exhibition in the foyer of the Opera House featuring artifacts and rare photographs from the Company’s archives of artists Claudia Muzio, Maria Jeritza, Dorothy Kirsten, Renata Tebaldi, Carol Vaness; Beniamino Gigli, Jussi Björling, Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti; Lawrence Tibbett and James Morris. The exhibition is open to San Francisco Opera ticket holders at all performances and through San Francisco Opera Guild tours of the War Memorial Opera House through October 30.