Tosca, Opera by G. Puccini
Giacomo Puccini pursued Tosca over a number of years and against a number of drawbacks. The maestro wrestled the project from another composer's hands and engaged in constant creative fights with librettists Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa as well as with the play's original author Victorien Sardou. And yet, Tosca premiered on 14 January 1900 at Teatro Costanzi in Rome to popular acclaim. This season, it is coming back home to the Eternal City.
Tosca is based on a melodramatic play of the same name that critics put down for its over-the-top emotionality and violence. However, Puccini saw in it a perfect vehicle for his signature opera vera. To reinforce the realism, the maestro researched the soundscapes of 1800 Rome and incorporated them in his dark, evocative score. With talent and hard work, Puccini created a true ode to Rome, immortalising it once more.
Against this authentic Roman backdrop, the opera's plot runs almost in real time. We meet the painter and former revolutionary Cavaradossi who is hiding his friend Angelotti from police chief Scarpia during the Napoleonic Wars. Popular singer and belle Floria Tosca notices her lover Cavaradossi's restlessness and doubts he is unfaithful. Blinded by her jealousy, Tosca leads Scarpia to the two revolutionaries' hiding place, and they are put on death row.
The guilt-ridden singer pleads for her lover's salvation, and Scarpia hatches a plan to fake Cavaradossi's execution if she spends the night with him. Initially agreeing, Tosca impulsively murders the police chief. By mistake, the execution on the following morning is real. With Cavaradossi dead and herself wanted for murder, Tosca ends her own life.
Tosca's drama and plot twists unfold at a rapid pace, but Puccini's powerful score and dedication to realism bind the opera together and keep the audience engaged from the first to the last note. While he masterfully drives the action with emotionally charged orchestration, the composer also slows things down with several lyrical arias. Floria Tosca's 'Vissi d'arte' stands out, as do Cavaradossi's 'E lucevan le stelle' and the loving, hopeful 'O dolci mani'.
Returning to Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, the place of its original premiere, Puccini's Tosca will transport you to another time and enchant you with its realism and emotionality.