TOSCA, A UNIVERSALLY ADORED OPERA
This popular opera by Giacomo Puccini was premiered at Rome's famous Teatro Costanzi in 1900.
In three acts and sung to a libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa an Luigi Illica, the opera is about lovers who are threatened by and evil police chief at the time of Napoleon's invasion of Italy in 1800.
With all the ingredients of an epic drama including murder, torture and suicide, this exceptional opera has inspired some amazing performances by many top stars.
Based on a play written in 1887 by French writer Victorien Sardou, it took Puccini over four years to make the long, meandering play into a concise three act opera.
A tale based on the love affair of and acclaimed singer, Floria Tosca and Mario Cavaradossi in times of political unrest in Rome. The evil Baron Scarpia wants Floria for himself and tricks her into giving him information that leads to her lovers arrest. Promising that she and Cavaradossi will escape, he tricks Floria into letting her lover stand in front of a firing squad by saying that the bullets will be blank. After he trys to seduce her, Floria stabs the Baron and rushes to the prison. He has tricked her and Cavaradossi is shot. Seeing no alternative, Floria commits suicide.
Trying to escape, one time Roman Consul-General, Cesare Angelotti tells his friend Cavaradossi that he is wanted by evil police chief, Baron Scarpia. Cavaradossi hides him down a well in his garden and Floria, his lover overhears. He confides in her. The act ends with a canon signalling that Angelotti's escape has been discovered.
Baron Scarpia sends a note to Floria asking her to come to his apartment at supper time. A rival for her affection, he is determined to win Floria away from Cavaradossi. He tries to interrogate her about Angelotti's hiding place and has Cavaradossi tortured within her hearing to persuade her to give up the information. She tells him where Angelotti is hidden as she can stand her lover's pain no longer. Cavaradossi is furious with Floria for betraying him and his friend, and he is taken away to prison. She manages to get the Baron to promise that he will allow her and Cavaradossi to escape from the city if she surrenders to his advances, and he agrees on condition that Cavaradossi is subjected to a mock execution.
The Baron arranges this with one of his men, Spoletta and gives Floria a letter to ensure the safe escape of her and her lover. News comes that Angelotti has killed himself. The Baron tries to force himself on Floria and she stabs him.
Floria rushes to the prison to tell Cavaradossi that he will need to go in front of a firing squad but that the guns will contain blank bullets. However, the Baron has tricked her and the bullets are real. When Cavaradossi has been shot Floria commits suicide.
THE MAIN ROLES
Floria Tosca - an opera singer - Soprano
Mario Cavaradossi - a painter and political activist - Tenor
Baron Scarpia - chief of police - Baritone
Cesare Angelotti - a political prisoner who has escaped -Bass