by Giacomo Puccini • October 7, 10, 13 & 15, 2017
Set in Rome, and taking place over the course of 24 hours in June of 1800, Puccini’s Tosca is the ultimate in opera melodrama.
Tosca combines political intrigue, love, loyalty, betrayal and murder with powerful music to create an unforgettably operatic experience.
We are thrilled to present Leah Crocetto in the title role of Tosca. Returning favorite Mark Delavan sings the role of Scarpia, one of the great villains in not just opera, but in the pantheon of Western storytelling.
Police chief Scarpia is hunting escaped political prisoner Cesare Angelotti. Angelotti is aided by artist Mario Cavaradossi, who is dating beautiful opera star Floria Tosca. Scarpia imprisons and tortures Cavaradossi to force Tosca to reveal Angelotti’s hiding place, and has even more sadistic intentions as well. Will Tosca submit? Will Scarpia keep his end of the bargain? See for yourself why Tosca is one of the most powerful operas ever written.
**Matthew Scolllin: Sacristan
+ Pittsburgh Opera debut
* Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist
** Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist alumni
Production owned by Seattle Opera.
ACT I. Cesare Angelotti, an escaped political prisoner, rushes into the church of Sant'Andrea della Valle to hide in the Attavanti chapel. As he vanishes, a Sacristan shuffles in, praying at the sound of the Angelus. Mario Cavaradossi enters to work on his portrait of Mary Magdalene, inspired by the Marchesa Attavanti (Angelotti's sister). Looking at the portrait, he compares her blond beauty to that of his raven-haired lover, the singer Floria Tosca (“Recondita armonia”). The Sacristan grumbles disapproval and leaves. Angelotti emerges and is recognized by his friend and fellow liberal Mario, who gives him food and hurries him back into the chapel as Tosca is heard calling outside. Tosca asks suspiciously why the doors to the church were locked and then reminds him of their rendezvous that evening at his villa (“Non la sospiri la nostra casetta?”). Suddenly recognizing the Marchesa Attavanti in the painting, Tosca is instantly jealous, but Mario reassures her (“Qual’ occhio al mondo”). When she has gone, Mario summons Angelotti from the chapel; a cannon signals that the police have discovered the escape, so the two flee to Mario's villa. Meanwhile, the Sacristan returns with the choir that is to sing a Te Deum that day. Their excitement is silenced by the entrance of Baron Scarpia, chief of the secret police, in search of Angelotti. When Tosca returns, Scarpia shows her a fan he has just found, bearing the Attavanti crest. Thinking Mario faithless, Tosca tearfully vows vengeance and leaves as the church fills with worshipers. Scarpia, sending his men to follow her to Angelotti, schemes to get the diva in his power (“Va, Tosca!”).
ACT II. In the Farnese Palace, Scarpia anticipates the sadistic pleasure of bending Tosca to his will (“Ha più forte sapore”). The spy Spoletta arrives. He has not found Angelotti, but has arrested Mario, who is brought in for Scarpia to interrogate while Tosca is heard singing a cantata at a royal gala downstairs. She enters just as her lover is being taken to an adjoining room; he will be forced to confess under torture. Unnerved by Scarpia's questioning and the sound of Mario's screams, Tosca reveals Angelotti's hiding place. Mario is brought in; realizing what has happened, he turns on her, but Sciarrone rushes in to announce that Napoleon has won the Battle of Marengo, a defeat for Scarpia's side. Mario shouts his defiance of tyranny (“Vittoria!”) and is dragged to prison. Scarpia now suggests that Tosca yield herself to him in exchange for her lover's life. Fighting off his embraces, she protests her fate to God, having dedicated her life to art and love (“Vissi d’arte”). Scarpia again insists, but Spoletta interrupts: faced with capture, Angelotti has killed himself. Tosca, forced to give in or lose her lover, agrees to Scarpia's proposition. The baron pretends to order a mock execution for Mario, after which he is to be freed; Spoletta leaves. No sooner has Scarpia written a safe-conduct document for the lovers than Tosca snatches a knife from the table and kills him, then wrenches the safe-conduct pass from the dead man’s hand.
ACT III. The voice of a shepherd boy is heard as church bells toll at dawn. Mario awaits execution at the Castel Sant'Angelo; he bribes the jailer to convey a farewell note to Tosca. Writing it, overcome with memories of love, he gives way to despair (“E lucevan le stelle”). Suddenly Tosca arrives, filled with the story of her recent adventures. Mario caresses the hands that committed murder for his sake, and the two hail their future. As the firing squad appears, the diva coaches Mario on how to fake his death convincingly; the soldiers fire and depart. Tosca urges Mario to hurry, but when he fails to move, she discovers that Scarpia's treachery has transcended the grave—the bullets were real. When Spoletta rushes in to arrest Tosca for Scarpia's murder, she cries to Scarpia to meet her before God, then leaps to her death.
~Adapted from Opera News
We want you to have the best experience possible at our performances!
- Run time is 2 hours 45 minutes, including two intermissions
- Understand Every Word: Tosca is sung in Italian, but English supertitles are shown at all performances
- Parking Downtown: get real-time parking availability
- Pre-Opera Talks before each performance
- Audio Commentary available at The Benedum Center
- Braille Programs available at The Benedum Center
- Large-Print Programs available at The Benedum Center
Listen to Pittsburgh Opera General Director Christopher Hahn give a brief synopsis of Tosca featuring excerpts from the following audio clips in the 1953 EMI Records recording with Victor De Sabata conducting the Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala in Milan:
- "Recondita armonia" - sung by Giuseppe Di Stefano playing the role of Mario Cavaradossi
- "Te Deum" - sung by the chorus and Tito Gobbi playing the role of Scarpia
- "Ha piu forte" - sung by Scarpia (Tito Gobbi)
- "Vissi d'arte" - sung by Maria Callas playing the role of Floria Tosca
- "E qual via scegliete" - sung by Scarpia (Tito Gobbi) and Tosca (Maria Callas)
- "E lucevan le stelle” - sung by Cavaradossi (Giuseppe Di Stefano)
- "Presto, su! Mario! Mario!" - sung by Tosca (Maria Callas)
- "Ah! Finalmente!" - the Orchestra del Teatro
Click play below or download these excerpts for an offline treat!
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has implemented new security and bag policies, effective starting October 1, 2016, at the Benedum Center and their other venues.