Tosca scores high with fans

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health - TANYA MACNAUGHTON

IF Ital­ian opera com­poser Gi­a­como Puc­cini lived in to­day’s world he would be writ­ing film scores and mak­ing lots of money, ac­cord­ing to Mel­bourne so­prano An­toinette Hal­lo­ran and Perth tenor Paul O’neill.

The pair, who will star in WA Opera’s pre­sen­ta­tion of New Zealand Opera pro­duc­tion Tosca, said al­though opera was more com­plex, Puc­cini’s mu­sic pro­vided au­di­ences with sim­i­lar emo­tions to movies from start to fin­ish. And they both agreed Tosca was the best ini­ti­a­tion for those new to opera.

“Tosca, La Bo­heme and Madama But­ter­fly are the three great­est but this one (Tosca) is so op­er­atic in its sto­ry­line,” Hal­lo­ran, who is mak­ing her WA Opera de­but, said.

“It’s got mur­der, pas­sion and in­trigue; what more could you want?”

WAAPA grad­u­ate O’neill re­cently moved back to Perth from Ber­lin with his fam­ily af­ter 13 years in Europe per­form­ing at a hec­tic pace.

“The cra­zi­est time was when I was re­hears­ing and per­form­ing be­tween three op­eras at once, each in a dif­fer­ent lan­guage: Czech, French and Ital­ian,” he said.

“It was a lot of work and it was time to come back to par­adise. It takes its toll, es­pe­cially when you have young chil­dren.”

Like Hal­lo­ran, who will play the ti­tle role, the fa­ther of four has per­formed his heroic char­ac­ter, artist Cavar­o­dossi, many times be­fore.

How­ever, un­like Hal­lo­ran, O’neill is not so ‘method’ in his prepa­ra­tion.

“I get right into what I’m play­ing, so when I’m But­ter­fly, I wear a ki­mono, end up cry­ing a lot and I hug my two chil­dren,” Hal­lo­ran said.

“So this will be a pas­sion­ate and fiery month for me dur­ing Tosca.

“She’s an opera singer so it’s a role I was born to play. She’s very jeal­ous and tem­pes­tu­ous and these are things I can at­test to be­ing.”

O’neill and Hal­lo­ran will be joined on­stage by Teddy Tahu Rhodes as the vil­lain­ous Baron Scarpia, Wade Ker­not, Andrew Foote, Matthew Lester and Paull-anthony Keight­ley.

Set in Rome, the opera has deadly con­se­quences when Baron Scarpia, the head of se­cret po­lice, be­comes con­sumed with de­sire for Cavar­o­dossi’s lover Tosca. Stu­art Maun­der is di­rect­ing and WA Opera artis­tic di­rec­tor Brad Co­hen will con­duct WASO in the pro­duc­tion, which fea­tures WA Opera Cho­rus and is sung in Ital­ian with English sur­titles.

“Vissi d’arte is one of the songs you would want to take with you if stuck on a desert is­land,” O’neill said.

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