On Friday 27 and Sunday 29 August 2021 – as a part of South Facing Festival at historic music venue Crystal Palace Bowl in Crystal Palace Park, South London – the English National Opera (ENO) will present a semi-staged outdoor performance of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca.
Tosca is a roller coaster story of love, lust, murder and political intrigue. Set in Rome at the time of Napoleon’s invasion of Italy, Tosca is a tragic story of passion and jealousy. It tells of the tempestuous opera singer, Floria Tosca, as she fights to save her lover Cavaradossi from the sadistic police chief, Scarpia. With its dramatic storyline and Puccini’s richly romantic score, it is one of the world’s best-loved operas.
Esteemed British conductor Richard Farnes will lead the award-winning ENO Orchestra and Chorus. Renowned internationally, Farnes has conducted for the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Danish Opera and London Symphony Orchestra. He was named Conductor of the Year in the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Opera and Music Theatre Award.
Award-winning Welsh soprano Natalya Romaniw brings her ‘power and presence’ (The Daily Telegraph) to the eponymous Tosca. Romaniw is ‘a major operatic phenomenon’ (Opera Now). In 2020, she was awarded the prestigious Singer Award at the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards, and Young Artist of the Year Award at the Gramophone Classical Music Awards. In the role of Cavaradossi is Korean tenor David Junghoon Kim, a former Jette Parker Young Artist (2017) and a winner of the much-coveted Francisco Viñas, Voci Verdiane and Toulouse singing competitions. When Kim performs, he sings with ‘radiance, lyricism and power’ (The Stage). The award-winning baritone Roland Wood will sing Scarpia. Wood has performed with all of the UK’s leading opera companies and is highly sought-after on the international stage. His talent is unparalleled as he has the ability to ‘tremendously… inhabit entirely’ (The Daily Telegraph) his roles.
Current ENO Harewood Artists British bass William Thomas and bass-baritone David Ireland will sing the roles of Sciarrone and Sacristan respectively. Thomas is considered to be one of the most promising singers of his generation and is the winner of a number of major awards, including the Kathleen Ferrier Award (2018) and the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition (2019). Ireland is a former member of the National Opera Studio, with ‘a voice to eagerly follow in the future enhanced by the most natural dramatic gifts.’ (Opera Now). In the role of Spoletta is Colin Judson, an established noteworthy tenor, who has previously been described as ‘the most completely thought-through, incisively sung and word perfect individual performance on stage’ (The Sunday Times). Angelotti will be sung by recent graduate of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme and rising South African bass-baritone Simon Shibambu, who was a finalist of the 2018 Operalia competition and his ‘huge, resonant tone’ (The Guardian) is attracting significant international attention.
Artistic Director of the ENO, Annilese Miskimmon, says ‘Whether you are new to opera or an aficionado, this is the perfect time to join us for a magical evening of live classical music as the sun goes down. This is a fantastic opportunity for the ENO to bring one of the world’s most famous operas, Puccini’s Tosca, to the iconic Crystal Palace Bowl. Love, passion and intrigue all combine in an amazing evening of opera drama, with some of the most beautiful music ever written performed by internationally renowned opera stars and the full forces of the ENO Chorus and Orchestra. We are thrilled to be a part of the amazing South Facing Festival line-up’.
South Facing Festival is a brand new concert series coming to Crystal Palace Park this summer, drawing on the rich musical heritage of the influential South London venue. In its early years the park played host to wildly popular Handel concerts within the Crystal Palace itself: the glass and iron marvel of the Victorian age. In 1961 the Crystal Palace Concert Bowl opened in the grounds of the park with a performance by the London Symphony Orchestra, leading to successful Proms in the Park events. Since then, Crystal Palace Bowl has hosted Pink Floyd, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Bob Marley, and many more iconic artists.
Crystal Palace Bowl has won numerous architecture awards and South Facing Festival will take place in this extraordinary venue with a purpose-built stage on the lake. Large screens will relay the performance and microphones will be used for high quality sound to ensure all audience members are able to enjoy the performance. Audiences are encouraged to bring their own picnic blanket and/or pillows to settle in and make themselves comfortable on the grass. There are a limited number of seated tickets in Zone A close to the stage.
The creators behind South Facing Festival have produced detailed plans to create COVID-secure events that deliver high quality experiences for both artists and audiences. Operating the festival in a seated, picnic style allows audiences to have their own dedicated space with their family and friends.
South Facing Festival: Tosca opens on Friday 27 August 2021 in Crystal Palace Park for two performances: August 27 at 19.00, August 29 at 19.00.
Running Time: 2 hours 35 minutes (including 2 intervals)
Tickets cost £55, £45 and £35 plus a booking fee of 10% per ticket. Please note general tickets are seated on the grass and you are encouraged to bring a picnic blanket and/or cushions to make yourself comfortable on the ground. A limited number of seated tickets are available in Zone A for £65.91.
ABOVE: ENO Tosca (c) Sam Barker