Tosca, Sarasota Opera, February-March 2019

“...[baritone Stephen] Gaertner revealed Scarpia’s evil guile with a strong, steely voice and cold heart in comparison with Tosca’s lush lines and the pious Te Deum and church procession of the village chorus in the background. Foreshadowing chills ran down the spine as Scarpia sent Tosca on her way and made explicit his lustful plan...Scarpia’s death was realistic drama, true verismo. If only Mario’s tortured screams had been as realistic as Scarpia’s jolting death spasms.”
(Gayle Williams, Herald-Tribune, February 13, 2022)

American baritone Stephen Gaertner made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2007 as Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor. His other roles at the Met have included Melot in Tristan und Isolde, Chorèbe in Les Troyens and Paolo in Simon Boccanegra (a performance available on Sony Classical HD DVD), in addition to covers of several major Verdi baritone roles: Carlo in Ernani, Di Luna in Il Trovatore, and Germont in La Traviata; he also covered the role of Rigoletto with Los Angeles Opera. He made his European debut at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège in 2010 as Escamillo in Carmen. Recent career highlights have included appearances as Macbeth with the Savonlinna Opera Festival and with Opernfestspiele Heidenheim, Amonasro in Aida with Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Iago in Otello with Teatro de la Ópera in San Juan, Rigoletto with Opera Grand Rapids, Riccardo in I Puritani with Teatro Verdi di Trieste, and Nabucco with Sarasota Opera. The 2021-22 season will feature Mr. Gaertner as Macbeth with Opéra de Dijon and Scarpia in Tosca with Sarasota Opera, both of which having been postponed due to the 2020-21 worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. He also returns to London for Opera Rara’s concert presentation of Leoncavallo’s Zingari with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Carlo Rizzi; a subsequent studio recording of the opera is scheduled for release on Opera Rara CD in September 2022.

Mr. Gaertner has also been a frequent performer of opera in concert. He appeared with Teatro Grattacielo at New York City’s Alice Tully Hall as Cristiano in Zandonai’s I Cavalieri di Ekebù and as Cascart in Leoncavallo’s Zazà (the latter under the baton of the late Alfredo Silipigni). He also made several appearances with Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall: as Sonora in La Fanciulla del West, Abayaldos in Donizetti’s Dom Sébastien, and Frank in Puccini’s Edgar, all under the baton of founder and music director Eve Queler. He has also sung Macbeth in concert with the Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz and Carlo in La Forza del Destino in concert with New Amsterdam Opera in New York City. He made a stunning U.K. debut in 2015 at London’s Barbican Hall as Cascart in Zazà in concert with Opera Rara and Maurizio Benini conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra, garnering high praise from the exigent London press; a subsequent studio recording of the opera was also released on Opera Rara CD the following year to critical acclaim.

Mr. Gaertner has performed extensively across North America in such diverse roles as Riccardo in I Puritani, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Rigoletto, Di Luna in Il Trovatore, Germont in La Traviata, Escamillo in Carmen, Iago in Otello, Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana, Tonio and Silvio in Pagliacci, Marcello in La Bohème, Scarpia in Tosca, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Lanceotto in Rachmaninoff’s Francesca da Rimini, Gianni Schicchi, and Balstrode in Peter Grimes. His other concert appearances have included Britten’s War Requiem at Catholic University in Washington, DC and Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem at Carnegie Hall with the New England Symphonic Ensemble. He has also been the recipient of awards from the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, Opera Index Inc. and the Oratorio Society of New York.

Il Barone Scarpia

Puccini: Tosca

February 12, 16, 20m, 22, 24, 27m, March 19, 2022

Sarasota Opera