Georgia's star baritone George Gagnidze has started off his new year season with a string of ongoing appearances in David McVicar's staging of Tosca at The Metropolitan Opera in New York City, donning the costume of Scarpia in Puccini's classic.
Gagnidze is cast in the role for the production that opened in early December and is set to run into March, with the three-hour staging seeing the singer share the stage with Zeljko Lucic.
The cast also involves sopranos Sondra Radvanovsky, Elena Stikhina and Aleksandra Kurzak, and tenors Brian Jagde, Joseph Calleja and Roberto Alagna.
Conductors Yannick Nezet-Seguin and Carlo Rizzi are featured in the production with two intermissions that hosts visitors to sets and costumes by John Macfarlane, lighting by David Finn and choreography by Leah Hausman.
Tosca’s popularity is [...] secured by its superb and exhilarating dramatic sweep, a driving score of abundant melody and theatrical shrewdness, and a career-defining title role
- The Metropolitan Opera
The Met has previewed the production by referencing how Puccini's work has "offended and thrilled audiences for more than a century", also citing the "rather grungy subject matter" and its timeless setting of Rome at the onset of the 19th century.
The opera premiered at the Italian capital's Teatro Constanzi in January 1900 to bring its setting of the city at the time of the invasion of Italy by Napoleon's armies.
For Gagnidze, the selection for Tosca marks a return to the venue where he has performed the title roles in Rigoletto and Macbeth, in addition to being cast as Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana and Tonio in Pagliacci, among other characters.
Gagnidze's appearances in the McVicar production are set to run at the New York theatre On January 14, 17, 21, 26 and 29.