Boston Lyric Opera presents Giacomo Puccini's Tosca

Boston, MA -- Jealousy, lust, deception, murder and suicide will take center stage at Boston's Citi Performing Arts CenterSM Shubert Theatre November 5-16, as Boston Lyric Opera kicks off its ambitious 2010-2011 Season with the Puccini classic. A BLO adaptation of a Scottish Opera production, this version of Tosca has long been popular in Europe but is just now receiving its North American premiere. BLO's season opener coincides with National Opera Week (October 29 - November 7), organized by OPERA America, the national service organization for opera.

Based on Victorien Sardou's hit play La Tosca, Puccini's original opera - with a libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica - debuted in Rome in 1900 and quickly became one of the world's most popular operas. It tells the tragic tale of a tempestuous prima donna caught between her revolutionary lover and the treacherous demands of the police chief who desires her.

Jill Gardner returns to Boston as the diva Floria Tosca. The glamorous soprano first appeared at BLO as Mimi in the Company's special BRAVO! Bohme performance in November 2007 and performed again this July in the Company's free concert with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, attracting a record-breaking crowd of more than 10,000 people. Opera News praised Ms. Gardner's "full sound, with a particularly rich bloom" and said "her commitment and passion...and her ability to convey vocally the slightest nuance of emotion made for gripping theatre."

Straight from Los Angeles, where he covered for Plácido Domingo in the title role of L.A. Opera's Il Postino, rising star Diego Torre will make his Boston debut as Tosca's lover, Mario Cavaradossi. As The Washington Times said, "his commanding, gloriously sculpted instrument makes him an up-and-coming talent to be watched." Mr. Torre's 2009-2010 season included Metropolitan Opera performances as the Messenger in Aida and Federico in Stiffelio. This season the tenor will also perform as Rodolfo in Opera Australia's La bohme and as Forresto in Attila at the San Francisco Opera.

Bradley Garvin sings opposite Ms. Gardner and Mr. Torre as the evil Baron Scarpia. Opera Magazine credits him with "a big, powerful, clear and expressive voice, which together with his acting skills will take him far." Winner of the George London Vocal Competition and the Plácido Domingo International Vocal Competition, Mr. Garvin will appear in the Met's Satygraha as Prince Arjuna, in Les Contes d'Hoffmann at Florida Grand Opera as The Four Villians, and at Dallas Opera as Monterone in Rigoletto. The Bass-Baritone is also the author of a mystery novel, "With the Voice of Angels," featuring a world-famous tenor who witnesses a murder on opening night of Tosca at the Chicago Grande Opera.

Anton Belov, seen most recently as the Wigmaker in BLO's Ariadne auf Naxos, will perform Angelotti. Opera News praised his "great emotional honesty; singing straight from the heart" and the Philadelphia Inquirer writes Belov "has the voice of an emerging star." T. Steven Smith, who sang throughout New England this spring as Doctor Bartolo in BLO's Opera for Young Audiences, The Barber of Seville, will sing the role of the Sacristan. Neal Ferreira will perform Spoletta; he was seen last spring in Ariadne auf Naxos as the Officer and in Idomeneo, re di Creta as the High Priest.

Ryan Williams, a very young singer who sang Miles in BLO's 2010 Opera Annex production of The Turn of the Screw at the Park Plaza Castle, will perform as The Shepherd Boy. On Opening Night, he will rush to the Shubert Theatre immediately after perf