Puccini’s ‘Tosca’ at Pittsburgh Opera; Jester’s Guild’s ‘The Three Musketeers’ at New Hazlett (Fri., 10/13/17)

1) Football and opera are different. Opera has been around much longer; there are no commercial breaks, and opera singers usually only pretend to injure one another. Other than that, both are pretty awesome spectacles. Pittsburgh Opera kicks off its season with Puccini’s tumultuous Tosca. It has three acts: a first and second half, plus a guaranteed sudden-death overtime, because in tragic opera, characters must die. Tosca is set during the contentious year 1800. While Napoleon and his French troops wage war for control of Italian territories, there is turmoil between rival political factions in Rome. Two of the city’s cultural figures—Floria Tosca, a singer, and her lover Cavaradossi, a painter—wish to pursue their amorous and artistic passions, but the troubles trap them in a web of treachery. Tosca premiered in Rome in 1900, a century after the drama it depicts. With a web of gripping music spun around the story, the opera has become an audience favorite. Pittsburgh Opera has soprano Leah Crocetto as Tosca, tenor Thiago Arancam as Cavaradossi, and baritone Mark Delavan as the scheming villain Scarpia. 7:30 p.m. Performances through Sunday. Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Cultural District. (MV)

2) The clang of metal swords hitting against one another will resound throughout the New Hazlett Theater as The Three Musketeers fight the evildoers of 17th-century France. The Jesters’ Guild is staging the Ken Ludwig adaptation of the historical novel of the same name by Alexandre Dumas. The character d’Artagnan (inspired by actual musketeer Charles de Batz de Castelmore, Comte d’Artagnan) intends to join the Musketeers of the Guard. He is not accepted at first, but proves his ability and honor to Musketeers Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. The full name of the unit was the Musketeers of the Military Household of the King of France, and they protected the king when he  ventured outside his royal palaces. 8 p.m. Continues through Sunday. New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side.

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Rick Handler

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