Drama, passion and fabulous music – Puccini’s operatic thriller is one of the great opera experiences
From its strident opening chords, Tosca conjures up a world of political instability and menace. The Chief of Police, Scarpia – one of the most malevolent villains in opera – ruthlessly pursues and tortures enemies of the state. His dark, demonic music contrasts with the expansive melodies of the idealistic lovers, Tosca and Cavaradossi, who express their passion in sublime arias, including ‘Vissi d’arte’ and ‘E lucevan le stelle’. Giacomo Puccini’s dramatic work was a hit with audiences on its 1900 premiere and it remains one of the most performed of all operas – and with its gripping plot and glorious music, it’s easy to see why.
A candle-lit church, Scarpia’s gloomy study with its hidden torture chamber and the false optimism of a Roman dawn: Jonathan Kent’s handsome production throws into relief the ruthlessly taut drama, as the tension is wound up towards its fateful conclusion. Puccini’s meticulously researched score is infused with the same authentic detail, from distant cannon fire during the Act I Te Deum to tolling church bells and the sounds of a firing squad.
The painter Mario Cavaradossi helps a fugitive 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, the singer Tosca.
Scarpia sentences Cavaradossi to death – but promises Tosca that her lover can be saved if she gives herself to Scarpia. Tosca consents but as soon as the order has been given kills Scarpia. Scarpia’s menace continues even in death: betrayed by a double-cross, Cavaradossi dies and Tosca leaps to her death.
Screenings in Bulgaria
1 March from 19.00, 4 March from 18.00 and 5 March from 16.00 at Arena Cinemas in Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Stara Zagora, Pleven and Smolyan. For detailed programme for all cities, please visit the website of Arena Cinemas.
Music: Giacomo Puccini
Libretto: Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
Director: Jonathan Kent
Designer: Paul Brown
Lighting designer: Mark Henderson
Conductor: Dan Ettinger
Floria Tosca: Adrianne Pieczonka
Mario Cavaradossi: Joseph Calleja
Baron Scarpia: Gerald Finley
Spoletta: Aled Hall
Cesare Angelotti: Simon Shibambu
Sacristan: Jeremy White
Sciarrone: Jihoon Kim
Chorus: Royal Opera Chorus
Concert Master: Sergey Levitin
Orchestra: Orchestra of the Royal Opera House