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Anna Netrebko © Dario Acosta, 2014
Anna Netrebko © Dario Acosta, 2014

Royal Opera House Winter Programme to open with Tosca in January 2021 featuring a stellar cast led by operatic superstar Anna Netrebko

The production will also be live-streamed for audiences across the globe on Friday 22 January.

By Chloe Westwood, Senior Press Officer
Monday 7 December 2020, 12.50pm

Today the Royal Opera House is delighted to announce that The Royal Opera’s Winter 2020/21 Programme will open with 12 performances of Puccini's Tosca. The revival of Jonathan Kent’s 2006 production will see one of the most captivating opera singers of our time, Anna Netrebko, return to the stage at Covent Garden.

Puccini’s operatic thriller – one of the great opera experiences – will be the first fully-staged production of an opera at Covent Garden since lockdown in March 2020. Running from Wednesday 13 January to Saturday 13 March, the production will also be live-streamed for audiences across the globe on Friday 22 January.

Opening on 13 January, Dan Ettinger will conduct the star cast including Anna Netrebko, leading tenor Yusif Eyvazov and world-renowned bass-baritone Gerald Finley.

On 15, 18, 21, 23 January, Spanish soprano Saioa Hernández will sing the title role, with South Korean tenor Yonghoon Lee reviving the role of Cavaradossi in which he made his Royal Opera debut in the 2012/13 Season. Lithuanian bass-baritone Kostas Smoriginas, a former member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme, will perform the role of Baron Scarpia.

As Tosca returns to Covent Garden in March, British conductor Alexander Soddy will make his ROH debut conducting Swedish soprano Malin Byström, British-Italian tenor Freddie De Tommaso - who makes his role debut as Mario Cavaradossi - and German baritone Michael Volle.

The three casts are joined by the Royal Opera Chorus, former and current members of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.

First performed in 2006, Jonathan Kent's production, with Paul Brown's stunning designs, perfectly evokes the troubled atmosphere of Rome in 1800 and Tosca's combination of sensuality and religious sincerity.

To comply with Covid-safe working and social distancing guidance, in this production of Tosca the orchestra will be smaller than usual, and Act I features some changes to the original staging. In order to ensure the safety of artists and creative teams and to prevent the spread of Covid-19, mitigations have included strict socially distancing in the rehearsal studio alongside testing, for those in physical contact during rehearsal, administered privately at no expense to the NHS.

Oliver Mears, Director of Opera of the Royal Opera House, said:

‘What better way for the Royal Opera House and our beloved audience to return to full-scale opera than with Puccini’s masterpiece? Gripping theatre from beginning to end, Tosca also features some of the most passionate music in the repertory, performed here by a dazzling collection of local and international stars. Classic opera at Covent Garden is back.’

General booking for Tosca opens on Tuesday 22 December at 10am. Further details of the Winter Programme will be announced in due course.