Tosca

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1899 poster

Tosca is an Italian opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini. It was first performed in Rome on January 14, 1900. The libretto was written by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica. It was based on Victorien Sardou's play La Tosca. Tosca was a great success.

Plot[change | change source]

Setting[change | change source]

The story happens in Rome in the year 1800. Some years before, Rome was ruled by the pope. But Napoleon invaded Rome and made it a republic. This republic was ruled by seven men called "consuls". But Napoleon had problems with Austria and the French had to leave, so Rome was conquered by people from Naples. Because of that, the new government decided to arrest people from the previous government. In 1800 Napoleon decided to return to Rome because he had just defeated the Austrian army in the north. The battle they fought was called the "Battle of Marengo".

Act 1[change | change source]

On the 17th of June, 1800, Scarpia, general of the secret police, is sending republicans to prison. One of the republicans, Angelotti, flees prison and gets inside the church of Sant' Andrea della Valle. Angelotti used to be one of the consuls. In this church, he meets another republican called Cavaradossi. Cavaradossi hides Angelotti in a secret place.

Later, Scarpia enters the church. Scarpia can’t find Angelotti, but meets a woman called Tosca there. She is the singer, and Cavaradossi's lover. Scarpia tricks Tosca into going to Cavaradossi’s house, and has his soldiers follow her.

Act 2[change | change source]

Scarpia hears that his soldiers can’t find Angelotti, but have arrested Cavaradossi. Scarpia then tortures Cavaradossi, but Cavaradossi doesn’t confess where Angelotti is. So Scarpia calls Tosca, and shows her her lover’s tortured state. Tosca tells him where is the secret place Angelotti was hidden.

Then, a message comes saying that Napoleon has won the Battle of Marengo. Cavaradossi is happy, because there will be a new republican government. Scarpia is furious and condemns Cavaradossi to death.

Tosca begs Scarpia to save her lover's life. Scarpia demands that Tosca gives herself to him in exchange. As Scarpia goes to touch Tosca, she stabs him to death with a knife from the table.

Act 3[change | change source]

Tosca runs to Cavaradossi in the prison at the castle Sant'Angelo. But, the firing squad shoot Cavaradossi. When Scarpia’s soldiers try to arrest Tosca for Scarpia's murder, she kills herself by jumping from the castle.

Principal roles[change | change source]

  • Floria Tosca - soprano
  • Mario Cavaradossi - tenor
  • Baron Scarpia - baritone
  • Cesare Angelotti - bass
  • Sacristan - bass
  • Spoletta - tenor

Discography[change | change source]

  • 1919: Valentina Bartolomasi (Tosca), Attilio Salvaneschi (Cavaradossi), Adolfo Pacini (Scarpia), Guido Fernandez (Angelotti), Ubaldo Ceccarelli (Sagristano), Gaetano Mazzanti (Spoletta); Coro e Grande Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano, Carlo Sabajno - (La Voce del Padrone)
  • 1929: Bianca Scacciati (Tosca), Alessandro Granda (Cavaradossi), Enrico Molinari (Scarpia), Salvatore Baccaloni (Angelotti), Aristide Baracchi (Sagristano), Emilio Venturini (Spoletta); Coro e Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Lorenzo Molajoli - (EMI Classics)
  • 1930: Carmen Melis (Tosca), Piero Pauli (Cavaradossi), Apollo Granforte (Scarpia), Giovanni Azzimonti (Angelotti), Antonio Gelli (Sagristano), Nello Palai (Spoletta); Coro e Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Carlo Sabajno - (Arkadia)
  • 1938: Maria Caniglia (Tosca), Beniamino Gigli (Cavaradossi), Armando Borgioli (Scarpia), Ernesto Dominici (Angelotti), Giulio Tomei (Sagristano), Nino Mazziotti (Spoletta); Coro e Orchestra del Teatro Reale dell'Opera di Roma, Oliviero De Fabritiis - (EMI Classics)
  • 1952: Renata Tebaldi (Tosca), Giuseppe Campora (Cavaradossi), Enzo Mascherini (Scarpia), Dario Caselli (Angelotti), Fernando Corena (Sagristano), Piero De Palma (Spoletta); Orchestra e Coro dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Alberto Erede - (Decca)
  • 1953: Maria Callas (Tosca), Giuseppe di Stefano (Cavaradossi), Tito Gobbi (Scarpia), Franco Calabrese (Angelotti), Melchiorre Luise (Sagristano), Angelo Mercuriali (Spoletta); Coro e Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Victor de Sabata - (EMI Classics)
  • 1957: Zinka Milanov (Tosca), Jussi Björling (Cavaradossi), Leonard Warren (Scarpia), Leonardo Monreale (Angelotti), Fernando Corena (Sagristano), Mario Carlin (Spoletta); Coro e Orchestra del Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Erich Leinsdorf - (RCA Victor)
  • 1957: Antonietta Stella (Tosca), Gianni Poggi (Cavaradossi), Giuseppe Taddei (Scarpia), Ferruccio Mazzoli (Angelotti), Leo Padis (Sagristano), Piero De Palma (Spoletta); Coro e Orchestra del Teatro di San Carlo di Napoli, Tullio Serafin - (Philips)
  • 1959: Renata Tebaldi (Tosca), Mario Del Monaco (Cavaradossi), George London (Scarpia), Silvio Maionica (Angelotti), Fernando Corena (Sagristano), Piero De Palma (Spoletta); Orchestra e Coro dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Francesco Molinari-Pradelli - (Decca)
  • 1962: Leontyne Price (Tosca), Giuseppe di Stefano (Cavaradossi), Giuseppe Taddei (Scarpia), Carlo Cava (Angelotti), Fernando Corena (Sagristano), Piero De Palma (Spoletta); Wiener Staatsopernchor, Wiener Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan - (Decca)
  • 1966: Birgit Nilsson (Tosca), Franco Corelli (Cavaradossi), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Scarpia), Silvio Maionica (Angelotti), Alfredo Mariotti (Sagristano), Piero De Palma (Spoletta); Orchestra e Coro dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Lorin Maazel - (Decca)
  • 1967: Gwyneth Jones (Tosca), James McCracken (Cavaradossi), Robert Merrill (Scarpia), Ezio Flagello (Angelotti), Giovanni Foiani (Sagristano), Ugo Benelli (Spoletta); Orchestra e Coro dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Lamberto Gardelli - (Decca)
  • 1973: Leontyne Price (Tosca), Plácido Domingo (Cavaradossi), Sherrill Milnes (Scarpia), Clifford Grant (Angelotti), Paul Plishka (Sagristano), Francis Egerton (Spoletta); John Alldis Choir, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Zubin Mehta - (RCA Records)
  • 1976: Montserrat Caballé (Tosca), José Carreras (Cavaradossi), Ingvar Wixell (Scarpia), Samuel Ramey (Angelotti), Domenico Trimarchi (Sagristano), Piero De Palma (Spoletta); Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis - (Philips)
  • 1976: Galina Vishnevskaya (Tosca), Franco Bonisolli (Cavaradossi), Matteo Manuguerra (Scarpia), Antonio Zerbini (Angelotti), Guido Mazzini (Sagristano), Mario Guggia (Spoletta); Chœurs de Radio France, Orchestre National de France, Mstislav Rostropovich - (Deutsche Grammophon)
  • 1977: Virginia Zeani (Tosca), Corneliu Fanateanu (Cavaradossi), Nicolae Herlea (Scarpia), Gheorghe Grasnaru (Angelotti), Constantin Gabor (Sagristano), Nicolae Andreescu (Spoletta); Chorus and Orchestra of the National Opera of Bucharest, Cornel Trailescu - (Carlton Classics)
  • 1978: Mirella Freni (Tosca), Luciano Pavarotti (Cavaradossi), Sherrill Milnes (Scarpia), Richard Van Allan (Angelotti), Italo Tajo (Sagristano), Michel Sénéchal (Spoletta); London Opera Chorus, National Philharmonic Orchestra, Nicola Rescigno - (Decca)
  • 1979: Katia Ricciarelli (Tosca), José Carreras (Cavaradossi), Ruggero Raimondi (Scarpia), Gottfried Hornik (Angelotti), Fernando Corena (Sagristano), Heinz Zednik (Spoletta); Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin, Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan - (Deutsche Grammophon)
  • 1980: Renata Scotto (Tosca), Plácido Domingo (Cavaradossi), Renato Bruson (Scarpia), John Cheek (Angelotti), Renato Capecchi (Sagristano), Andrea Velis (Spoletta); Ambrosian Opera Chorus, Philharmonia Orchestra, James Levine - (EMI Classics)
  • 1984: Kiri Te Kanawa (Tosca), Giacomo Aragall (Cavaradossi), Leo Nucci (Scarpia), Malcolm King (Angelotti), Spiro Malas (Sagristano), Piero De Palma (Spoletta); Welsh National Opera Chorus, National Philharmonic Orchestra, Georg Solti - (Decca)
  • 1988: Éva Marton (Tosca), José Carreras (Cavaradossi), Juan Pons (Scarpia), István Gáti (Angelotti), Italo Tajo (Sagristano), Ferenc Gerdesits (Spoletta); Hungarian Radio TV Chorus, Hungarian State Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas - (Sony Classical)
  • 1990: Mirella Freni (Tosca), Plácido Domingo (Cavaradossi), Samuel Ramey (Scarpia), Bryn Terfel (Angelotti), Angelo Veccia (Sagristano), Anthony Laciura (Spoletta); Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Philharmonia Orchestra, Giuseppe Sinopoli - (Deutsche Grammophon)
  • 1992: Carol Vaness (Tosca), Giuseppe Giacomini (Cavaradossi), Giorgio Zancanaro (Scarpia), Danilo Serraiocco (Angelotti), Alfredo Mariotti (Sagristano), Piero De Palma (Spoletta); Westminster Symphonic Choir, Philadelphia Orchestra, Riccardo Muti - (Philips)
  • 2000: Maria Guleghina (Tosca), Salvatore Licitra (Cavaradossi), Leo Nucci (Scarpia), Giovanni Battista Parodi (Angelotti), Alfredo Mariotti (Sagristano), Ernesto Gavazzi (Spoletta); Coro e Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Riccardo Muti - (Sony Classical)
  • 2000: Angela Gheorghiu (Tosca), Roberto Alagna (Cavaradossi), Ruggero Raimondi (Scarpia), Maurizio Muraro (Angelotti), Enrico Fissore (Sagristano), David Cangelosi (Spoletta); Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Antonio Pappano - (EMI Classics)
  • 2003: Fiorenza Cedolins (Tosca), Andrea Bocelli (Cavaradossi), Carlo Guelfi (Scarpia), Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (Angelotti), Matteo Peirone (Sagristano), Sergio Bertocchi (Spoletta); Orchestra e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Zubin Mehta - (Decca)

Reference[change | change source]

  • The Complete Dictionary of Opera & Operetta, James Anderson, Wings Books, 1993.