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Backstage Tour: San Diego Opera’s 'Tosca'

We learn what it takes to stage a famous production


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It’s a classic! The first performance of Tosca took place in Rome’s Teatro Costanzi on January 14, 1900.

Last night I attended San Diego Opera’s Tosca at the Civic Theatre. It was romantic, beautifully sung, and surprisingly funny. I enjoyed myself immensely. The story, set to music by Giacomo Puccini, takes place in Rome and centers around a jealous actress (Tosca) who follows her lover (Cavaradossi) to the palace inhabited by the chief of police (Scarpia). There, Cavaradossi becomes the fall guy for his escapee friend. I won’t spoil the rest.

The folks at the Opera were kind enough to take me backstage and explain the inner workings of putting on a show. Here, I’ve put together a slideshow of all the people and moving parts involved, including stagehands, musical instruments, and an Italian castle crammed into the downtown theater, along with enough talent to fill, well, a theater. See it all in action at the Civic, February 13, 16, 19, and 21.

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