Hot Picks: No one left unscathed in Tosca

So there’s this singer, Floria, who’s in love with a church painter named Mario, who is helping an escaped political prisoner named Cesare, who is hiding in the vestibule. Mario has just painted a picture of Mother Mary whose sexy appearance earns stern disapproval from the church custodian. It also looks suspiciously like Cesare’s sister, whom Floria is jealous of. Cesare goes into hiding, pursued by the thoroughly unpleasant police chief Scarpia, who convinces Floria that Mario is cheating on her with Cesare’s sister. Floria goes off to confront Mario, but she is followed by Scarpia and his agents with a plan to catch both Mario and Cesare so he can kill them, leaving him free to hit on Floria, whom he has a crush on.

Got it? And that’s just the first act. Impressive set-up, no?

Now just set the whole thing to music, in passionate Italian – and we have the unlikely smash hit opera that is Puccini’s Tosca, which at the time it premiered, in 1900, was not raved over by music critics. Don’t they feel silly now? Tosca is like one of the most popular operas EVER. It’s the Stairway to Heaven of opera.

See it tonight when the Edmonton Opera production of Puccini – Tosca opens at the Jubilee Auditorium. This is bloody, horrible, tragic business, of course, as this is one of those Great Works of Opera in which one or more of the main characters end up dying in nasty ways. No one is left unscathed in this thing, including Napoleon, of course. We have love triangles, deceit, betrayal, revenge, intrigue, suicide, sexual abuse, war, torture – hey, it sounds like modern American foreign policy! Does Julian Assange know about this?

Tickets are $48.50 to $163.50 and on sale here. The opera also runs Tuesday, April 12 and Thursday, April 14.