As the third production of the 2022/23 Season, Arizona Opera presented Tosca, with two different casts in Phoenix and two further performances in Tucson.
From the opening chords the conductor Daniela Candillari positioned the orchestra as a formidable force, reflecting and reinforcing the moods and actions of the central characters and transporting the opera on its trajectory to tragedy. Stephanie Havey directed with nuance, intelligence, and sensitivity. On the second evening (January 21), Caitlin Gotimer sang with grace and depth as Tosca, growing from hopeful young lover to Scarpia's terrified prety to heroism on the ramparts of Castel Sant'Angelo. John Matthew Myers as Cavaradossi traced a similarly effective arc, singing with remarkable emotional depth and range. As Scarpia, Weston Hurt embodied the arrogance and self-righteousness of a petty tyrant and sang with full-throated gravitas.
There were also very good performances from Jeremy Aye as Angelotti, Brandon Morales as the Sacristan, Brad Bickhardt as Spoletta, Michael Tallino as Sciarrone, and Tiffany Choe as the Shepherd Boy. All in all a memorable convergence of artistic vision, production values, and vocal excellence.