Light and dark are the themes of one of Puccini’s most popular operas, Tosca was a hit with audiences on its 1900 premiere and it remains one of the most performed of all operas. The darkness comes from the Chief of Police, Scarpia who uses his position to pursue and torture enemies of the state. The light emanates from the lovers, Tosca and Cavaradossi, who express their love in sublime arias.
Jonathan Kent’s production explores the themes of love and evil in a taut drama that builds up the tension towards its fateful conclusion. Puccini’s powerful score adds to the drama with distant cannon fire during the Act I Te Deum to tolling church bells and the sounds of a firing squad.
The story centres around painter Mario Cavaradossi agrees to help the fugitive Angelotti escape – and so attracts the attention of Scarpia, the sadistic Chief of Police. Scarpia captures Cavaradossi and has him tortured within earshot of his lover Tosca.
Tosca reveals Angelotti’s hiding place. Scarpia sentences Cavaradossi to death – but promises Tosca that the firing squad will fire blanks if she gives herself to him. Tosca secures her and Cavaradossi’s safe passage, and stabs Scarpia. She rushes to Cavaradossi on the ramparts of the Castello Sant’Angeli. He faces the firing squad and dies – Scarpia lied. Tosca throws herself off the ramparts.
About 3 hours, including two intervals. Act I lasts about 50 minutes, followed by a 25 minute interval. Act II lasts about 45 minutes, followed by a 25 minute interval. Act III lasts about 30 minutes.
Sung in Italian with English surtitles
For more information or to book tickets, visit the Royal Opera House website here
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