Initially, the composer Alberto Franchetti obtained the rights to write the opera Tosca based on the Frenchman’s play of the same name, Victorien Sardou. But thanks to the efforts of the publisher Tito Ricordi, these powers passed to Giacomo Puccini, who in 1889 saw the production of this drama with Sarah Bernhardt in the title role. The maestro began work in 1895 together with the librettists Luigi Illiki and Giuseppe Giacosa during a short break in work on the score of Bohemia. “Puccini perfectly understood the value of the drama of Sardou – the rapid progress of its development and extraordinary expressiveness. He sharply objected when the librettist Illika wanted to put a long farewell speech into the mouth of the tenor, and instead wrote a short, but highly expressive and emotional aria “E lucevan le stelle” (“Stars burned in the sky”), ”writes musicologist Heinrich W. Simon. At the same time, the composer removed from the plot of the play minor details and accelerated the action as much as possible. The image of the main character underwent changes. If Sardo Floria Tosca is a diva who considers her love for a freethinking artist to be a sin, then Puccini has a talented singer and patriot of Italy. The premiere of “Tosca” took place in 1900 in the Roman theater “Constance” (in the title role – Romanian Harikley Darkle). In the same year, December 15, the opera was first presented in Odessa, on the stage of the City Theater. Floria Toscu was sung by Ms. Mendiorots, Mario Caravadossi – Giovani the Apostle. “Puccini tried to introduce action into the sound, light, color and moral atmosphere of Rome at the beginning of the 19th century. A friend of the composer Don Panicelli helped him recreate the authentic sound of the bells in the vicinity of Sant’Angelo Castle. And a resident of Lucca and also a friend of the composer Alfredo Vandini told him verses of an old folk song (shepherd’s song), ”writes musicologist Gustavo Marquezi. His colleague Abram Gosenpood adds: “Puccini’s music gave flesh and blood to Sardou’s melodramatic figures. Passionate, impetuous, indomitable Tosca, noble, courageous, romantically dreamy Cavaradossi, evil, treacherous and cruel Scarpia – three bright images expressively embodied in the music. ” However, at first the opera was received without enthusiasm. Some critics have pointed out that the play is too dramatic to serve as an ideal libretto. Composer Pietro Mascagni said: “I was a victim of bad libretto. Puccini fell victim to too good. ” However, Sardou’s play has long died, and Puccini’s opera continues to live on the stages of all the opera houses of the world for more than a hundred years after the premiere, after more than three thousand productions and after hundreds of sopranos made their final jump from the parapet of the prison castle.
Act 1 Roman church of Sant Andrea della Valle. A runaway political prisoner, Republican Angelotti, enters. He is looking for the key to the family chapel, which his sister, the Marquise of Attavanti, hid under the statue of the Madonna. Having discovered the key, he is hiding in the chapel. A sacristan appears, who, grumbling, cleans up the dirty brushes for the artist Mario Cavaradossi who works here. The artist comes, they begin to communicate, then the sacristan notices that the features of one of the parishioners appear on the unfinished portrait of Mary Magdalene. Cavaradossi compares the saint with her lover, singer Floria Tosca. The sacristan throws disapproving remarks towards the artist-freethinker. Angelotti, recognizing his old friend Cavaradossi, leaves the shelter. Their conversation is interrupted by a knock on the door and the voice of Tosca – she demands to let her in. Angelotti is hiding again. Longing is jealous: she notices the similarity of Mary Magdalene in the portrait with the Marquise Attavanti. Cavaradossi calms the beloved. They agree to meet in his villa after her evening performance. Floria leaves the church. Cavaradossi decided to give Angelotti refuge. They run away together after hearing a volley from the castle. At this time, a message comes about the defeat of Napoleon. The church begins preparations for a solemn service on this occasion. Baron Scarpia appears, who, along with detective Spoletta, is looking for Angelotti. They find evidence that the fugitive was hiding in the church: he forgot to lock the chapel and left his sister’s fan. The Baron also sees a portrait of Mary Magdalene in which he recognizes the Marquise Attavanti. He wants to expose Cavaradossi and cause jealousy in Floria Tosca, in which he is in love. Longing returns to the church to tell her lover that they will not be able to meet – tonight, in honor of the victory, she sings in Farnese. But instead, she meets Scarpia, who succeeds in convincing Floria that Cavaradossi left with the Marquise Attavanti. Longing hurries to the villa to catch them. Scarpia secretly sends Spoletta after her. Act 2 Farnese Palace, on the top floor of which is located the police department. Scarpia in his office reflects on the events of the past day. Spoletta tells him that in the house of Cavaradossi he did not find a runaway prisoner. However, he saw Tosca there and arrested the artist himself, who denied any involvement in hiding Angelotti. The Baron orders to bring Cavaradossi, and also passes the note to Toska – he is waiting for her after the concert. Before Cavaradossi is sent to a prison cell, he manages to whisper his lover so that she is silent about everything she saw in the villa, otherwise he will die. Floria is left alone with the baron. She remains calm until she hears the screams of the tortured Cavaradossi. Unable to bear this, the singer admits that the fugitive is hiding in a garden well. At the request of Tosca, they bring Cavaradossi. Upon learning that Tosca told everything, he curses her. At this time, Napoleon’s victory at Marengo was reported, and Cavaradossi did not hide his joy. Scarpia orders him sent to prison and executed at dawn. To save her lover, Tosca agrees to surrender to the baron. He gives a double order – to shoot the artist with blank cartridges, but in the same way as the Count Palmerii was executed. At the request of Tosca, he writes permission for Mario and Floria to leave Rome. However, when Scarpia turns to Tosca to hug her, she pierces him with a dagger. Having taken the pass, she leaves the office of the police chief. Act 3 The roof of the prison of Sant’Angelo, where Cavaradossi should be executed. Early morning, a shepherd’s song is heard. They bring an artist who is preparing for execution and writes a farewell letter to Toska. But then the singer herself appears. She shows Mario a pass and tells how she killed the chief of police. Lovers do not doubt their salvation and look forward to a happy ending. Confident that the execution is just a farce, Cavaradossi without fear becomes a formation. However, the treacherous Scarpia gave an ambiguous order: the cartridges are real, and the artist falls dead. The executioners are leaving. Floria, seeing the dead body of her lover, rushes down from the roof of the castle.
Opera in 3 acts
Libretto by Luigi Illiki and Giuseppe Giacosa based on the drama of the same name by Victorien Sardou
Stage Director - People's Artist of Ukraine Volodymyr Lukashev
Production Designer - Honored Artist of Ukraine Natalya Bevzenko-Zinkina
The play is hosted by the children's choir "Pearls of Odessa", artistic director Larisa Garbuz
The opera takes place in Rome in June 1800. Sardou indicates more precise dates: day, evening of the 17th and early morning of the 18th of June. Italy has long been a number of independent cities and lands, in the center of the country was the Papal Region. In 1796, the French army under the command of Napoleon invaded Italy, in 1798 entered Rome and established a republic there. The republic was ruled by seven consuls; one of which, Libero Angelucci, could be the prototype of Cesare Angelotti. The French defending the republic in 1799 left Rome, which was occupied by the troops of the Kingdom of Naples. In May 1800, Napoleon again sent troops to Italy, and on June 14 his army met with the Austrian at the Battle of Marengo. The Commander-in-Chief of the Austrians Melas, being confident in his victory, sent a messenger to Rome, but Napoleon received reinforcements in the evening and managed to win, and Melas had to send a second messenger after the first. After these events, the Neapolitans left Rome, and the French captured the city for fourteen years.