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Thursday, November 10, 2011


Cast: The cast of Opera Western Reserve’s “Tosca” includes Marian Vogel, soprano, as Tosca; Alex Richardson, tenor, as Cavaradossi; Michael Young, baritone, as Scarpia

Setting: Puccini set his opera “Tosca” in 1800 during the Napoleonic Wars, but Opera Western Reserve is shifting the time and place to World War II in Fascist Italy.

“World War II is more familiar to people,” explained OWR director David Vosburgh. “And the soldier uniforms in 1800 looked like they just walked in from a production of ‘Figaro.’”

Barb Luce, costumer, is glad for the change in time frame. “There wasn’t a lot going on in fashion in the ’40s,” she said. “There was the Depression and a war going on, and there wasn’t a lot of decoration on clothes. But no woman ever went out in public without a hat and gloves.”

Music: Susan Davenny-Wyner is music director of “Tosca.” Salem Youth Chorus, founded and directed by Jon Simsic, will make its first OWR appearance in the production, singing in the church scene. Choral groups from Girard city schools and Youngstown State University also are in the production.

Chair: A relic from the original New York Metropolitan Opera House will be used in “Tosca” at Stambaugh Auditorium. Scarpia’s chair from a Met production was going to be thrown away when a young David Vosburgh, who was employed at the famed opera house at the time, rescued it. Vosburgh is now director of OWR.

Language: “Tosca” will be sung in Italian with the English translation projected on both sides of the stage.