Tosca from Opéra Royal de Wallonie, Liège
Libretto by L. Illica and G. Giacosa
Opera in 3 acts
Sung in Italian
Opéra Royal de Wallonie - Liège
Recorded in January 2015
Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa after the work with the same title by Victorien Sardou
Running Time: 124 min
Act I: 47 min | Act II: 43 min | Act III: 34 min
Director Claire Servais
Costumes Michel Fresnay
Lighting Olivier Wery
Chorus Master Marcel Seminara
Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra Royal de Wallonie
Floria ToscaBarbara Haveman
Maro CavaradossiMarc Laho
Cesare AngelottiRoger Joakim
Spoletta Giovanni Iovino
Sciarrone Marc Tissons
Sacristan Laurent Kubla
Jailer Pierre Gathier
Puccinis fifth opera, Tosca marks an important transition in Puccinis work. His previous opera, La Bohème, considered by many to be his first masterpiece, is at the same time, the last of Puccinis work portray the struggles and dreams of societys lower classes.
With Tosca, Puccini returns to the purest tragedy, focusing on the violent and tragic downfall of three historic figures. Tosca is a highly focused opera, concentrated around the complex and fully developed psychologies of its three main characters. Inspired by the riveting performance of Sarah Bernhardt in the play by Victorien Sardou, Puccini artfully crafted the jealousy, turmoil and despair of the entrancing Floria Tosca. After a period of tormented and stormy writing with his librettists, Puccini finalized his composition just days before the operas premiere on January 14, 1900 at Teatro Constanzi in Rome.
Paolo Arrivabeni, musical director of the Royal Opera of Wallonie-Liège conducts this new production directed by Claire Servais.
Act I in the Attavanti chapel, in the church of Sant' Andrea della Valle
Escaped political prisoner Angelotti rushes into the church to hide. Soon, painter and fellow dissident Mario Cavaradossi arrives to work on a new portrait of Mary Magdalene, inspired by the visage of Angelottis sister, whom Mario has seen but has not met. He holds a miniature of the singer Floria Tosca, and compares the paintings light features with Toscas dark ones. Angelotti emerges, but Mario urges him to hide again as they hear Tosca approaching. Tosca, always jealous, questions her lover Mario, prays, and reminds him of their planned meeting at his villa that night. Tosca then recognizes the face in the picture Angelottis sister! She bursts with newfound jealousy, but Mario quells her suspicions. After she leaves, Angelotti emerges again but cannon fire is heard, indicating that Angelottis escape has been discovered. The two men rush to Marios villa. The Sacristan enters with choir boys excited about their performance in a Te Deum that day. They are hushed when the chief of the secret police, Baron Scarpia, enters in search of Angelotti. Tosca re-enters, hoping to see Mario again, but is met by Scarpia, who produces a fan bearing the Attavanti crest deepening her suspicions that her lover has been unfaithful. Tosca storms off, and Scarpia sends his men to follow her. He vows that he will have the singer in his power.
Act II The Farnese Palace
Scarpia anticipates the joy he will have when Tosca is his. The spy Spoletta returns. He was unable to find Angelotti, so he brought in Mario for interrogation. Tosca is heard singing at a gala downstairs. She enters the room just as Mario is hauled off to the torture chamber, where the secret police hope to break his silence. Marios screams and Scarpias questioning break down Toscas resolve, and she reveals where Angelotti is hiding. Mario is carried in, and, realizing that Tosca has betrayed Angelotti, turns on her. Another one of Scarpias men enter and reports (erroneously) that Napoleon has won the Battle of Marengo a defeat for Scarpias side. Mario exclaims in celebration and is taken to prison. Scarpia resumes his supper, and suggests to Tosca that she should give herself to Scarpia in exchange for her lovers life. Tosca pushes him away as she protests her fate to God. Scarpia makes another move, but they are interrupted by Spoletta Angelotti, facing capture, has killed himself. Tosca agrees to Scarpias proposition. He then seemingly orders a mock execution for Mario a la Palmieri, he tells Spoletta, who responds knowingly and exits. As soon as Scarpia draws up a safe-conduct for the lovers, Tosca stabs him with a knife, killing him. She prays for him, wrenches the document from his hands, and leaves.
Act III At the Castel Sant Angelo
Mario awaits execution. He tries to bribe a guard to give Tosca a farewell note, but soon Tosca appears, and gives him the good news. They revel in their newfound freedom. Tosca then gives Mario an acting lesson on how to die convincingly before the firing squad. The firing squad arrives, shoots Mario, and departs. Tosca urges Mario to get up, and to hurry. When he doesnt move, she realizes that she has been deceived by Scarpia the bullets were real. Spoletta rushes in to arrest Tosca for the murder of Scarpia, but Tosca cries out that she will meet Scarpia before God, and leaps to her death.
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