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
Scarpia, Chief of Police
Angelotti, a political prisoner
|Un Pastore (a
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.
image_description=Maria Callas as Tosca
first_audio_name=Giacomo Puccini: Tosca
product_title=Giacomo Puccini: Tosca
product_by=Angelotti: Gilberto Cerda; Carceriere: Carlos Caballero; Mario Cavaradossi: Giuseppe di Stefano; Pastore: Luz Maria Farfan; Sagrestano: Alberto Herrera; Scarpia: Piero Campolonghi; Sciarrone: Francisco Alonso; Spoletta: Carlos Sagarminaga; Tosca: Maria Callas. Orchestra & Chorus of the Palace of Fine Arts. Guido Picco, conducting. Live performance, 1 July 1952, Mexico City.
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