Giacomo Puccini's Tosca is one of those operas in which the music must do most of the heavy lifting because the plot is convoluted and melodramatic -- even for opera. Puccini was up to the task as a composer, however, crafting some of his most memorable arias to cover up the story's deficiencies. Briefly, the painter Cavaradossi is involved with the singer Tosca. He becomes embroiled in the power politics of Naples when his old friend Angelotti runs afoul of the ruling party and escapes prison with Cavaradossi's aid. Tosca believes that Cavaradossi's surreptitious efforts are on behalf of another woman and becomes jealous; Scarpia, the chief of police, uses that jealousy to track down Angelotti. Poor Cavaradossi becomes collateral damage during all this, while Tosca must fight for her own virtue (Scapria is a lecherous goat) and save her love's life. Trust us, the complexities of the story fade when Tosca sings her life in the famous aria, Vissi d'arte. Winter Opera Saint Louis presents Tosca at 8 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Sunday (March 8 and 10) at the Skip Viragh Center for the Arts on Chaminade's campus (425 South Lindbergh Boulevard; 314-865-0038 or www.winteroperastl.org). Tickets are $36 to $51.
Fri., March 8; Sun., March 10, 2013