Known as one of the finest Italian composers, Puccini‘s operas have stood the test of time, with some of his compositions being regarded as some of the best in the genre, including Madam Butterfly, La Bohème and of course Tosca.
The plot centres around three main characters – Rome’s diva Floria Tosca, her lover Mario Cavaradossi (a painter and republican) and the corrupt Chief of Police, Baron Scarpia. Scarpia has long lusted after Tosca, and when he suspects Cavaradossi of assisting an escaped political prisoner, seizes the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. He will manipulate Tosca into revealing the prisoner’s hiding place and Cavaradossi’s involvement, and have her for himself.
When Cavaradossi is captured, Scarpia offers Tosca a horrific bargain – she must give herself to Scarpia, or her lover is killed… what will she choose, and who will survive?
Jonathan Kent’s staging, with Paul Brown’s heavy, magnificent sets, inspired by the Napoleonic era and the Rome of 1800 took my breath away from the first seconds.
I had goosebumps all over my body during “vissi d’arte”. Bravo!
Erwin Schrott was exceptional as a Baron Scarpia, magnificently acted and beautifully sung he managed to bring out the most charming villain I have ever encountered!
With the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House under the control of the versatile and experienced Russian conductor Sergei Levitin, it all added up to a superb evening.
If you have not seen an opera before, this Tosca is a good starting place to discover what absorbing entertainment it can offer.
“And the stars were shining, And the earth was scented. The gate of the garden creaked And a footstep grazed the sand… Fragrant, she entered and fell into my arms.” Puccini, Tosca