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American tenor Brian Jagde will portray Mario Cavaradossi in TOSCA at Lyric Opera of Chicago Jan. 24-Feb. 5

01.12.15
Brian Jagde
Lyric Opera of Chicago

Brian Jagde, one of the outstanding tenors of his generation with a burgeoning international career, will make his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut performing the role of the painter/revolutionary Mario Cavaradossi in Puccini's fiery melodrama Tosca Jan. 24-Feb. 5, Lyric's general director Anthony Freud announced today. Jagde replaces the previously announced Ukrainian tenor Misha Didyk, who withdrew from the production for personal reasons.

Brian Jagde (pronounced "Jade")  triumphed as Cavaradossi earlier this season at San Francisco Opera, and has also been acclaimed in the role at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and The Santa Fe Opera. Later this season he'll portray Pinkerton/Madama Butterfly at London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; and Ismaele/Nabucco at  the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, Spain.

The American tenor made his Metropolitan Opera debut during the 2013-14 season as Count Elemer/Arabella in a live broadcast. An alumnus of San Francisco Opera's prestigious Adler and Merola Programs, Jagde has appeared on SFO's main stage - in addition to this season's Tosca - as Pinkerton/Madama Butterfly and Janek/The Makropulos Case, among other roles.  His European debut engagement occurred at the Teatr Wielki in Poznan, Poland, in the title role/Werther. He subsequently has returned to Europe for Rodolfo/La bohème (Munich Philharmonic under the baton of the late Lorin Maazel) and Don José/Carmen (Opéra de Limoges). Other important engagements include The Minnesota Opera (Pinkerton, Matteo/Arabella), the Castleton Festival (Rodolfo), and Virginia Opera (Pinkerton). The tenor won the 2014 Loren L. Zachary Competition, and was the second-prize winner at Plácido Domingo's 2012 Operalia Competition. Jagde earned accolades for his interpretations of Wagner-Strauss repertoire with the Birgit Nilsson Prize.

"Lyric is very grateful to Portland Opera and its general director Christopher Mattaliano for their flexibility in releasing Brian Jagde to make his Lyric debut as Cavaradossi," said Freud. 

Lyric Opera's new production of Tosca opens on Saturday, January 24 with 10 performances through Saturday, March 14. Performance dates are Jan. 24, 27, Feb. 2, 27, Mar. 3, 14 at 7:30pm; and Jan. 30, Feb. 5, Mar. 8, 11 at 2pm. Jagde will appear with the first cast in the first five performances.

One of the Lyric audience's favorite works, Tosca returns for two series of performances during the company's 60th season. The title role of glamorous diva Floria Tosca will feature sopranos Tatiana Serjan (debut, Jan. 24-Feb. 5) and Hui He (Feb. 27-Mar. 14). Tosca's lover, the painter/revolutionary Mario Cavaradossi, will be sung by tenors Brian Jagde (debut, Jan. 24-Feb. 5) and Jorge de León (debut, Feb. 27-Mar. 14). Portraying the sadistic chief of police, Baron Scarpia, who lusts after Tosca, will be bass-baritone Evgeny Nikitin (debut, Jan. 24-Feb. 5) and baritone Mark Delavan (Feb. 27-Mar. 14). Spoletta, Scarpia's henchman, will be sung by tenors Rodell Rosel (Jan. 24-Feb. 5) and David Cangelosi (Feb. 27-Mar. 14), both alumni of the Ryan Opera Center. Supporting roles will be performed by Dale Travis and by current Ryan Opera Center members Richard Ollarsaba, Bradley Smoak, and Anthony Clark Evans, with 13-year-old Annie Wagner making her solo role debut as the Shepherd Girl.

Conducting all performances will be Dmitri Jurowski (debut). The director is John Caird, sets and costumes are designed by Bunny Christie (debut), and the lighting is designed by Duane Schuler. Michael Black is chorus master and Josephine Lee is children's chorus master. Tosca  will be sung in Italian with projected English texts.

For tickets and information call (312) 827-5600 or go to lyricopera.org/Tosca. Learn more about this production at lyricopera.org/InsideTosca. Follow the conversation on Twitter: #LyricTosca.

The January 24 opening night performance will be broadcast live on 98.7WFMT and streamed on wfmt.com starting at 7:15pm. For those listening to the broadcast, live mobile titles will be available at lyricoperalive.org.

Lyric Opera coproduction generously made possible by the Harris Family Foundation, Marlys A. Beider, Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson, ITW,  and Mr. and Mrs. Michael Polsky. Tosca is a coproduction of Lyric Opera of Chicago and Houston Grand Opera.