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Puccini, G. (1858-1924)


Tosca





Composed 1896-1899.
First performed Janeury1 14, 1900.
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica (in Itarian),
after Sardou.




A Summary of gToscah



Act 1
On 17th June, 1800, Rome is ruled by fear, that is, republicanism collapses, and shifts to royalism. Scarpia, general of the secret police, on the side of royalism continuously commits many republicans to prison. One of the republicans, Angelotti, succeeds in breaking out of prison, and rushes into the church of Sant' Andrea della Valle. In the church, he meets up with another republican, Cavaradossi. Cavaradossi harbors Angelotti in his secret hideout.
After the two left the church, Scarpia who gives chase to Angelotti enters the church. Scarpia canft find Angelotti, but meets Tosca there. She is the singer, and Cavaradossifs lover. Scarpia tricks Tosca into going to Cavaradossifs house, and has his subordinates follow her.

Act 2
In the Farnese Palace, Scarpia receives word that his subordinates canft find Angelotti, but have arrested Cavaradossi. Scarpia tortures Cavaradossi, but Cavaradossi doesnft confess Angelottifs whereabouts. Scarpia calls Tosca, and shows her her loverfs tortured state. Tosca gives up the route to the secret hideout to Scarpia.
Then, word comes that Napoleon has won the Battle of Marengo, that is, a defeat for royalism. Cavaradossi exclaims with delight. Scarpia is furious with him, and condemns Cavaradossi to death.
Tosca begs Scarpia to save her lover's life. Scarpia demands that Tosca yield herself to him in exchange for her lover's life. As Scarpia goes to touch Tosca, she stabs him to death with a knife from the table.

Act 3
Tosca runs to Cavaradossi who is confined to the prison at the castle of Sant'Angelo. But, the firing squad carry out their orders to shoot Cavaradossi. When Scarpiafs subordinates rush to arrest Tosca for Scarpia's murder, she kills herself by leaping from the castle.




A Comment on gToscah



In this opera, there are three arias, gRecondita armonia (hidden harmony)h in act 1, gVissi d'arte, vissi d'amore (I lived for art, I lived for love)h in act 2 and gE lucevan le stele (And the stars shone)h in act 3. The three arias are respectively outstanding, and are famous. General operas are long, but you would never become bored watching this opera.

The tenor, Cavaradossi, sings two arias, one in act 1 and one in act 3. The soprano, Tosca, sings only one aria in act 2. Then, doesnft another leading role, Scarpia, have his own aria? No, he doesnft. But, he plays an active role in act 2. He is the villain. Scarpia escalates his bad behavior toward Tosca, until he is murdered by her in the last scene in act 2. This duet of Tosca and Scarpia is one of the most powerful and impressive scenes.

This operafs story is fiction, but this opera has its setting in real places in Rome. You can enter the church of Sant' Andrea della Valle which can be seen in act1, now. The Farnese Palace, in act 2, is used by Frence as their embassy. The castle of Sant'Angelo, in act 3, is one of the most famous sightseeing spots in Rome. There is a film on DVD in which the opra is actually performed at each of the abovementioned locations (conducted by Bartoletti, directed by De Bosio, 1976, DECCA).





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