Three of Hearts

There’s nothing quite like an unwelcome third wheel to spoil a perfectly beautiful romance. Unlike the third point in a love triangle, the third wheel manages to roll its way into a romance that doesn’t involve it in the least. It’s the basis for many classic love stories and just about every soap opera side plot, and Arizona Opera’s upcoming production of Giacomo Puccini's Tosca is no exception.

The ultimate third-wheel story goes a little something like this: Powerful dude likes chick. Chick loves someone else. Powerful dude takes other dude hostage until chick is forced to succumb to powerful dude’s desire for her. And if there’s anything we’ve learned from movies, books, and television, it’s that you can force someone to love you if you torment the right people. But hey, Toca takes place in 19th-century Rome. Third wheel situations are a lot more interesting when they’re sung in Italian and you get to see them play out in music form -- not on Facebook.

Jan. 25-27, 7:30 p.m., 2013