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By Elizabeth Large and Elizabeth Large,SUN RESTAURANT CRITIC | March 30, 2000
Germano Fabiani's experiment in Cal-Ital ended with the closing last month of the Tosca Grill in Owings Mills. Fabiani, who owns Germano's in Little Italy, says the problem wasn't customers -- he had plenty of those for his pastas, pizzas and Tuscany entrees. But his rent was high for the kind of business he was doing, which was more dinner-after-work than special-occasion blowouts. The building's owner decided not to renegotiate the lease. "The choice was either close now or close five years from now," says Fabiani, who isn't sure whether he'll reopen Tosca elsewhere or not. "Right now I'm just thinking about what I should do."
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | September 8, 2014
For many opera fans, Maria Callas was the last word on lyrical passion. But there was another extraordinary soprano before, during and after La Divina's relatively brief reign -- Magda Olivero, who developed something of a cult following for her visceral singing and acting. Olivero died Sept. 8 at the age of 104. The tributes will be many. ( Tom Huizenga has posted a fine one for NPR. ) I regret that I didn't pay enough attention to Olivero, never sought out her recordings as energetically as I did those of Callas.
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By Joe Christensen | September 8, 2002
The Toronto Blue Jays learned a lot about the 2003 season this past week. Manager Carlos Tosca and his entire coaching staff will be in the fold; starting pitcher Chris Carpenter will not, or at least not initially. Carpenter, who was Toronto's ace until Roy Halladay won 15 games this season, will miss nine to 12 months after undergoing shoulder surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn labrum. At the end of next season, Carpenter, 27, will be eligible for free agency, which will make for some tricky negotiations this winter.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | October 23, 2013
Lyric Opera Baltimore found itself in need of a new villain less than two weeks before the company's season-opening production of "Tosca. " The exceptional bass-baritone Eric Owens, who had quite a triumph recently as Alberich in the Metropolitan Opera's controversial staging of Wagner's "Ring," was to have sung the role of the despicable Scarpia in Baltimore. A case of strep throat has caused him to cancel. Replacing Owens will be another American singer, bass Raymond Aceto, who has earned fine notices for his performances as Scarpia with the Houston Opera and Santa Fe Opera.
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,sun music critic | May 7, 2007
Operatic melodrama doesn't come any juicier than in Puccini's Tosca. The plot-fueling bursts of jealousy, lust and hatred in this work can pretty much take all the emotion you can dish out, and there's no shortage in the Baltimore Opera Company's season-ending production. Add in some fiery singing, and you've got a torrid little Tosca. Saturday's opening night at the Lyric Opera House did not quite hit the ideal trifecta of any Tosca - three closely matched artists, with the soprano in the title role coming in first by a note - but it didn't matter that much.
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,sun music critic | July 17, 2007
Productions of Puccini's Tosca aren't exactly rare around here - the Baltimore Opera Company staged it a couple of months ago, Washington National Opera a couple of years ago - but there's good reason to check out yet another one now. If you go Tosca will be performed at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Hartke Theatre, 3801 Harewood Road, N.E., Washington. Tickets: $40-$65. Information: 202-319-4000 or summeropera.org.
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By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | November 11, 1999
The Annapolis Opera has never mounted a more tightly conceived production than the "Tosca" it presented last week at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.Puccini's potboiler plot moved ahead with bristling intensity. Most of the afternoon, I held on for dear life as Scarpia plotted, Cavaradossi professed his undying devotion for his beloved and the Roman republic, and Floria Tosca, true to her big aria, lived and died for art, honor and love.All of the operatic elements meshed Sunday afternoon.
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 18, 2005
A corrupt authority figure oozing fake piety in the afternoon and lechery at night, an artist given to anti-government sentiments, and some serious prisoner abuse -- nothing like a 105-year-old opera to help you escape all thoughts of the contemporary world. In some ways, Puccini's Tosca was always meant to be pure escapism. The composer wasn't nearly as interested in the politics or history of the plot, set in 1800 Rome, as he was in the volatile love story that propels it. Washington National Opera's invigorating production keeps the spotlight steadily focused on that passion, but doesn't ignore the broader picture.
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | November 13, 2001
Puccini's Tosca was once famously dismissed as "a shabby little shocker." A century after the opera's premiere, its detractors can still be heard grumbling about its sensationalism and over-the-top flourishes of blatant melodrama. To which legions of Tosca fans reply, "And your point is?" Thanks to Puccini's score, with its indelible melodies and brilliant orchestral coloring, the opera's theatricality is elevated to something that may not be quite high art but is close enough for many of us. The enduring fire of Tosca can be appreciated in the Baltimore Opera Company's new production.
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By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | August 12, 1999
Only an hour's drive from Severna Park is a jewel of an opera company that performs one opera each year in August at the Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University.Founded by Muriel Lee Hom in 1994, Opera International is an intergenerational enterprise in which young artists perform leading roles and established singers help them develop their artistry.Last weekend's production of Puccini's "Tosca" also showed how international the company is. Conductor Edward Roberts is from the United States, along with director Muriel Von Villas, tenor Drew Slatton, and baritone Jason Stearns; soprano Hai-bo Bai and baritone Sun Yu came from China; bass Yu-hsi Bai from Taiwan; and tenor Giancarlo Bacigalupo from Peru.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | September 25, 2013
Community Concerts at Second, which offers a remarkable range of free and substantial programs each year, drew a big house for the opening of its 27th season Sunday afternoon showcasing the Aspen String Trio, plus one. On the first half of the bill, the Aspen players delivered a finely articulated, expressively shaped account of Beethoven's String Trio in D major, Op. 9, No. 2.  The dark lyricism of the Andante, which gives a hint of where the...
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | July 22, 2013
Most centennial celebrations take place without the honoree. But Italian-born soprano Licia Albanese is still with us, so it's even sweeter to take note of her birthday as she reaches the age of 100 today, July 22. She enjoyed a great opera career, loved for the sweetness of her tone and her intense commitment to a role. Licia Albanese is one of those distinctive singers who could justifiably sum up her glory days by paraphrasing Norma Desmond: "We had voices!" Note: This clip from a live recording of "Tosca" gets weird at the end. Not sure if the soprano wanted to rush the climactic phrase of "Vissi d'arte" or if the recording just has a nasty edit, but no matter.
NEWS
Jacques Kelly | November 13, 2010
Despite all I've heard about the antiquated working conditions at the 1894-built Lyric Opera House , I've had some of the most entertaining evenings of my life at Baltimore's music hall/opera house/graduation stage. But my curiosity got the best of me recently, so I requested a behind-the-curtain tour of the Lyric's current makeover. This is the one that has been talked about for decades, a $12.5 million upgrade to the stage housing. The Cathedral Street side of the building looks as if someone airlifted the steel superstructure on a Harbor East office building onto where the third-act sets of "Tosca" rested.
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By Mary Johnson and Special to The Baltimore Sun | March 21, 2010
A nnapolis Opera's performance of "Tosca" last weekend scaled new dramatic heights while delivering Giacomo Puccini's work, which premiered in Rome in 1900. Puccini was inspired to write the opera after seeing Sarah Bernhardt in Sardou's play "La Tosca." Having seen every Annapolis Opera production during the past 16 years, I would rank this "Tosca" near the top for its powerful singers, who were able to create intense drama with the Annapolis Opera Orchestra. Although the opera's setting is Rome in 1800 as Napoleon's army invades the city, much in the plot of political intrigue, corruption, lust, violence and sexual intimidation seems current.
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By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,Special to The Baltimore Sun | November 29, 2009
Admired for his prodigious programming skills, Annapolis Chorale and Chamber Orchestra music director J. Ernest Green ratcheted these talents up several notches for the "Musical Fireworks" classical concert recently. At Green's pre-concert lecture, he said the program might be "over the top in abundance of big choral sounds," which included 19th-century Czech composer Anton Dvorak's celebratory Latin hymn, contemporary English composer John Rutter's "Gloria" and two major grand opera choruses.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,Special to The Baltimore Sun | August 30, 2009
Despite the economic woes being felt by other local arts organizations, the Annapolis Opera remains "in solid financial shape, thanks to our supporters," says President Leah Solat. The new season will feature fall and spring concerts of arias, a holiday show, a children's opera and the main production: a fully staged "Tosca." The 22nd annual vocal competition ends the season in May. Solat returns to the office she held in 2007-2008, the most successful season ever, when both "Carmen" performances sold out. She expressed hope that former Baltimore Opera subscribers will discover the Annapolis Opera this season.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,Special to The Baltimore Sun | August 30, 2009
Despite the economic woes being felt by other local arts organizations, the Annapolis Opera remains "in solid financial shape, thanks to our supporters," says President Leah Solat. The new season will feature fall and spring concerts of arias, a holiday show, a children's opera and the main production: a fully staged "Tosca." The 22nd annual vocal competition ends the season in May. Solat returns to the office she held in 2007-2008, the most successful season ever, when both "Carmen" performances sold out. She expressed hope that former Baltimore Opera subscribers will discover the Annapolis Opera this season.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | September 16, 1999
The Annapolis Opera is offering four events this year, hoping to attract opera devotees and neophytes.A fully staged production of Puccini's "Tosca" in its original Italian will be presented Nov. 5 and Nov. 7 at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.The addition of supertitles in time for "Tosca" is an exciting innovation for those of us who enjoy opera most in its original language but don't want to miss any of the libretto.Artistic and music director J. Ronald Gretz has assembled an impressive cast of singers, including Allison Charney in the title role.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | October 9, 2007
The Baltimore Opera Company's opening performance of Verdi's darkly beautiful La forza del destino was nearly ruined for me by a sound not typically associated with this work - laughter. No, I'm not talking about the mild comic relief Verdi intended, a la Shakespeare, in a couple of scenes involving an out-of-sorts friar. The giggles and guffaws came instead in the midst of deadly serious business. No doubt, the primary culprit was the supertitles, those now de rigueur translations of an opera's libretto projected above the stage.
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