Opera Tampa double bill stages two Puccini one-acts

Lise Lindstrom will perform the title role in Suor Angelica.

Rob/Harris Productions

Lise Lindstrom will perform the title role in Suor Angelica.

BY JOHN FLEMING

Times Performing Arts Critic

For soprano Lise Lindstrom, there's no holding back when she makes her debut as the title character of Puccini's Suor Angelica with Opera Tampa.

It's a powerful role — a young woman has an illegitimate child and goes into a monastery to redeem her sin — with one of Puccini's most demanding arias, Senza mamma. The singer must throw caution to the wind, even though she's performing it for the first time on stage.

"Your instrument doesn't work when you're being cautious,'' she said. "Opera singing is a high-wire act, an extreme sport.''

Lindstrom, a Californian, got the offer to play Angelica in December, which was pretty short notice, but she immediately accepted because of the chance to work with conductor Anton Coppola, a master of the Puccini repertory. "Anything he wants me to do, I want to do, because he's fantastic,'' she said. "I just feel like I'm in good hands with him.''

The soprano sang the title role of Turandot with Coppola for Orlando Opera in 2008. She makes her Metropolitan Opera debut as Puccini's ice princess next fall.

Another famous soprano who played Angelica, Renata Scotto, will be here this weekend to receive the first Anton Coppola Excellence in the Arts Award. Lindstrom has watched vintage clips of Scotto performing the role on YouTube. "They are outrageously gorgeous,'' she said. "Seeing her sing a role like that can be very educational.''

Suor Angelica is paired with another Puccini one-act opera, Gianni Schicchi. The composer wrote them as part of a trio of operas called Il Trittico, but the third, Il Tabarro, is not being performed by Opera Tampa.

A notable aspect of the production is German director Joachim Schamberger's use of digital video technology in the creation of "virtual'' theater design. "It's a different approach that allows for some moments that are unusual,'' Schamberger said. "The entire set is a projection basically, and the singers live in it like a virtual world.''

John Fleming can be reached at fleming@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8716.

. If you go

Puccini double bill

Opera Tampa's staging of Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Ferguson Hall of Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. $45.50-$85.50. (813) 229-7827 or toll-free

1-800-955-1045; tbpac.org.

Opera Tampa double bill stages two Puccini one-acts 02/25/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 3:30am]

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