Newfoundland soprano Cheryl Hickman plays the lead role in “Tosca,” being presented by Maritime Concert Opera at Lunenburg’s Pearl Theatre June 20.

Maritime Concert Opera’s (MCO) fifth annual Lunenburg Summer Opera Festival will present Puccini’s “Tosca” at the Pearl Theatre on June 20 at 7:30 p.m. Set in Rome in 1800, “Tosca” tells a timeless tale of romance, villainy and corruption. Diva Floria Tosca sees her lover, Cavaradossi, sentenced to death for hiding a political prisoner from Scarpia, Rome’s chief of police. She reluctantly agrees to Scarpia’s unspeakable demands in return for her beloved’s safety, but her attempt to foil the licentious cop ends in tragedy.

Making her MCO debut is Newfoundland soprano Cheryl Hickman in the title role. Ms Hickman has sung with opera companies across North America, including New York City Opera and the Canadian Opera Company.

Also in the cast are MCO favourites Lenard Whiting as Cavaradossi, Robert Milne as Angelotti, Ross Darlington as the Sacristan and Andrew Tees in his first performance as Baron Scarpia.

Toronto accompanist Kate Carver, vocal coach for the Canadian Opera Company, is the music director.

Among the young Maritimers making their debuts with MCO are New Brunswick tenor Owen McCausland as Spoletta and 14-year-old Eva Ernst of Lunenburg as the shepherd boy. Halifax baritone Josh Whelan returns to MCO as Sciarrone. The MCO Chorus will be directed by Diane Oxner MacDonald.

Expect lively acting, incredible music and helpful projected translations to make the plot intelligible.

Last year’s performances of “Carmen” were sold out in a couple of venues and MCO is delighted to continue its tradition of making opera available to Nova Scotians outside Halifax.

Each year MCO presents an opera in Lunenburg on the Saturday night of the festival weekend, and on the Friday night, a contrasting concert.

This year on June 19 at 7:30 p.m. they will present “Come to the Cabaret,” an eclectic evening of English and German cabaret and musical theatre performed by German-born, Lunenburg-based Marion Sawatzki; Halifax-born, Berlin-raised Garry Williams; MCO’s artistic director Nina Scott-Stoddart; and Gwen Dawson at the piano.

They will be singing music by Cole Porter, Noël Coward, George and Ira Gershwin, Kander and Ebb, Kurt Weill and Stephen Sondheim.

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