Puccini’s Tosca, a classic tale of love and loss, is one soprano Carol Vaness knows all too well. In fact, to many opera fans worldwide, Vaness is Tosca.
Since her first production at California State University, Northridge, Vaness has logged over 150 performances of the role for which she is internationally renowned. It also marks the beginning of her friendship with Orlando Opera’s Robert Swedberg. “We did several performances together, most notable was Don Giovanni,” reminisces Swedberg. “But my favorite role of hers at that time was Tosca.” Vaness adds, “ I remember Robert coming back after the show to tell me how great it was.”
Vaness’s Floria Tosca has been reprised around the world—from San Francisco Opera to Duetsche Opera Berlin. In 2004, she played her signature role opposite Luciano Pavarotti at the Met in his final operatic performance.
“Tosca is the perfect opera! The love Tosca has for her music is a characteristic we share. The music brings me back to her every time,” says Vaness. She explains, “It’s one of the first chances we get as opera singers to actually play an opera singer. Her entire life is dedicated, just as mine is, to what she does—to her art, to singing, to love.”
However, there is more to Vaness than Tosca. She began her professional career as Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito at San Francisco Opera, following her apprenticeship with their Merola Opera program. Throughout her career, she has taken on a variety of roles in many operatic capitols, including Paris Opera, Covent Garden, and Salzburg Festival. She also takes time out of her performance schedule to coach master classes. “I love young singers…I want them to take over the opera world in the best way possible and sign beautifully and passionately,” says Vaness.
In April, two old friends, Vaness and Swedberg, reunite with Orlando Opera’s production of Tosca. “It will be my great pleasure to direct the production,” says Swedberg. “It is especially wonderful now that she is at the apex of her career that we have this great opportunity to work together.”
originally published in the March-April 2006 issue of Orlando Arts magazine.
Content on this site was originally written by Katharine Miller between 2000-2015. Many feature articles and interviews were published in print and on websites that no longer exist. Katharine is reproducing her written material here for portfolio and archival purposes only. Links and credits to clients and original publication will be included where possible.