22 Feb 2009
PUCCINI: Tosca — Mexico City 1952
Tosca: A melodrama in three acts.
Opera in three acts. Words and music by Richard Wagner.
Parsifal. Bühnenweihfestspiel (“stage dedication play”) in three acts.
“German poet, dramatist and novelist. One of the most important literary and cultural figures of his age, he was recognized during his lifetime for his accomplishments of almost universal breadth. However, it is his literary works that have most consistently sustained his reputation, and that also serve to demonstrate most clearly his many-faceted relationship to music. . . .
This theme relates to operas based on the works of Friedrich von Schiller.
Here are operas based on French literature from Balzac, Hugo and beyond:
Le Cid, Opéra in 4 acts
I puritani, opera seria in three acts
Zaira, Tragedia lirica in two acts.
Athalia: Oratorio (sacred drama) in 3 acts
Lucrezia Borgia: Melodramma in a prologue and two acts.
La Esmeralda: Opéra in four acts.
Ernani: Dramma lirico in four parts.
Oberst Chabert (Colonel Chabert): Tragic opera in 3 acts.
Otello: Dramma lirico in four acts.
Music composed by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Arrigo Boito after The Tragedie of Othello, the Moore of Venice by William Shakespeare.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a comedy in five acts with incidental music.
Le Marchand de Venise (“The Merchant of Venice”): Opéra in three acts.
Gli Equivoci (The Comedy of Errors): Opera in two acts.
Der Sturm: Opera in three acts
The Fairy-Queen: Semi-opera in five acts.
Macbeth: Melodramma in quattro parti.
Tosca: A melodrama in three acts.
Music composed by Giacomo Puccini. Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on the play La Tosca by Victorien Sardou.
First performance: 14 January 1900 at Teatro Costanzi, Rome
|Floria Tosca, a famous singer||Soprano|
|Mario Cavaradossi, painter||Tenor|
|Il Barone Scarpia, Chief of Police||Baritone|
|Cesar Angelotti, a political prisoner||Bass|
|Il Sagrestano (the sacristan)||Baritone|
|Spoletta, a police agent||Tenor|
|Sciarrone, a gendarme||Bass|
|Un Carceriere (a jailer)||Bass|
|Un Pastore (a shepherd)||Boy soprano|
Time and Place: June 1800, Rome
Setting: Inside the Church of Sant'Andrea della Valle, Rome.
Angelotti, a political prisoner, enters furtively, having just escaped from the Castel Sant'Angelo through the help of his sister, the Marchesa Attavanti, who has left him some clothes in the church and the key to the Attavanti Chapel, where he can hide and disguise himself. When Angelotti is hidden, the painter Mario Cavaradossi comes in to resume work on a Maria Maddalena. The sacristan points out a resemblance between the Maria Maddalena and a strange lady who has been coming to the church frequently of late (the Marchesa). Mario contemplates the harmony of the stranger's beauty with that of his beloved, Tosca. Angelotti reappears and recognizes his old friend, Mario. Mario promises to help, but they are interrupted by the appearance of Tosca. Angelotti hides, which leads Tosca to become jealously suspicious. Mario allays her suspicions they agree to meet that evening. After Tosca leaves, Angelotti reemerges and Mario takes him to his villa outside the city.
The sacristan returns to announce the defeat of Napoleon but finds Mario has left. Choristers and acolytes prepare the Te Deum to celebrate the victory of the royalists; however, they are silenced when Scarpia enters. He has tracked Angelotti to the church and Mario's lunch basket is found in the chapel. Mario now becomes the target of his suspicions. Using the Marchesa's fan to arouse Tosca's jealousy, she flees the church and is followed by Scarpia's men. Scarpia relishes the thought of having Mario executed and possessing Tosca.
Setting: Scarpia's apartments in the Palazzo Farnese.
As the Queen of Naples celebrates the victory in another part of the building, Spoletta arrives to report that Angelotti could not be found at Mario's villa. Mario has been brought in for questioning, but he stands silent. Tosca arrives. Mario urges her not to say anything. She nevertheless reveals Angelotti's whereabouts as Mario is being tortured. Mario rebukes her; however, he is overjoyed when Sciarrone arrives to inform Scarpia that Napoleon has won the battle at Marengo. Scarpia orders Mario to be executed at dawn. Tosca pleas for mercy. Spoletta returns with news that Angelotti has killed himself, rather than be captured. Scarpia offers to hold a mock execution of Mario in exchange for Tosca's love. She agrees. As he writes out the safe-conduct, Tosca grabs a knife on the table. When Scarpia approaches to claim his prize, she stabs him.
Setting: Dawn atop the Castel Sant'Angelo.
While a shepherd sings in the distance, Mario is brought up to his place of execution. Alone he contemplates Tosca and his life. Tosca arrives withnews of the mock execution. She admits that she has killed Scarpia. The execution is ordered. Mario falls. Tosca approaches and urges him to rise only to find that he is dead. Spoletta then rushes in to arrest her for the murder of Scarpia. Tosca jumps from the parapet to her death.