One of the most performed operas in the world, Tosca by G. Puccini impresses the audience with dramatic and unique music, starting from the very first “demonic” chords.
Sincere love and lust, art and tyranny, hope destroyed in the fatal tragic finale – the opera is full of dynamic contrasts and the rapidly unfolding fascinating plot.
Igor Latsanych People’s Artist of Ukraine
Ivan Cherednichenko Winner of international competitions
Tadey Ryndzak People's Artist of Ukraine
Vadym Yatsenko Winner of Ukrainian competition
The Church of Sant’Andrea della Valle, Rome
Angelotti, former Consul of the Republic of Rome and now a political prisoner who has escaped from prison, enters exhausted. He hides in the chapel of his sister, the Marchesa Attavanti. The artist Cavaradossi is working on an image of Mary Magdalene. The Sacristan is shocked that the painting resembles a woman in his congregation. Cavaradossi denies the resemblance: only Tosca occupies his thoughts and his brush could paint the features of no-one else. After the Sacristan leaves Angelotti emerges from the chapel. He knows the artist and trusts him, and so he begs for assistance. Hearing Tosca’s voice, he hides again. The singer notices the painting of Mary Magdalene resembles the Marchesa Attavanti. Tosca’s jealousy erupts but the artist manages to pacify her. Floria leaves and Cavaradossi offers the fugitive refuge in his home. Gunshots are heard – the escape has been discovered. The men hurry away.
A celebratory mass begins. Scarpia, chief of police of Rome, and police agent Spoletta are among the worshippers. They are interested in the Attavanti Chapel where they expect to discover Angelotti, but find a fan left there by the Marchesa and an empty food basket. Seeing Tosca return to the church in the hopes of seeing her beloved again, Scarpia decides to seize his opportunity. He cunningly provokes Floria’s jealousy. When she runs out of the church, Scarpia sends police agents after her, believing that the infuriated Tosca will lead them to the artist’s secret hiding place.
The Farnese Palace
Scarpia is in his apartments awaiting news from his agents. His expectations are only half fulfilled: Tosca did lead them to Cavaradossi who has now been arrested but Angelotti remains at liberty. Scarpia hopes to torture the artist into revealing the truth and orders Tosca be brought to him. The chief of police himself begins Cavaradossi’s interrogation but to no avail. The artist manages to whisper to Tosca to keep the secret at all cost. He is led off to be tortured. His groans and screams make Floria lose her self-control and she reveals the secret hiding place in the garden. Scarpia orders an end to the torture.
In agony, Cavaradossi is thrown at Tosca’s feet by the soldiers. He hears the chief of police and understands that the secret has been revealed. He curses Tosca. Scarpia orders that he be taken away and executed in the morning. In answer to Tosca’s pleas, he says he will spare Cavaradossi’s life if she will be his. In Tosca’s presence the chief of police gives an ambiguous command and issues a pass for her and Cavaradossi, allowing them to leave Rome. Tosca, however, does not realise that the execution will be real. Scarpia runs towards Tosca and, defending herself, she kills him. Staring at the corpse in horror, she carefully removes the pass from Scarpia’s hand and slips out of the palace.
The platform of the Castel Sant’Angelo
Cavaradossi’s execution is to take place here. Overwrought, Tosca rushes in and explains it is to be a mock execution. Mario has to play his part well so the soldiers suspect nothing, and then they can flee the city. The soldiers appear. They fire and the artist falls to the ground. Floria calls his name in vain. Realising he is dead, Tosca throws herself from the parapet.
One of the most famous and most performed operas in the history of music – Tosca by Giacomo Puccini has a fascinating story, beginning from the framing of the concept to its development, as well as an interesting story of the opera productions at Lviv theatres.
In 1889 Puccini first came up with the idea of writing the opera Tosca based on the play of the same name by the French playwright Victorien Sardou (1831-1908), which was extremely popular at that time. Then the 30-year-old composer had written only two compositions, his early and lesser-known operas Le Villi and Edgar. The young and talented composer was supported by the head of the publishing house Giulio Ricordi, who provided Puccini with a monthly subsidy. Puccini wrote to his mother: “I came to the theatre with 40 centimes in my pocket. That was all I had… In a casual dark brown suit, the only one I owed, I had to do a curtain call and was given a standing ovation… In a few days, Ricordi bought the right to publish Le Villi and gave me my first 1,000 lire.” Later, Ricordi received compensation for all expenses, becoming a world monopolist in the printing and distribution of the composer’s works. For Puccini, the publisher became not only a patron but also a trusted adviser.
So, having received the first triumphs, royalties and support of Ricordi, Giacomo Puccini sought to write his next opera based on La Tosca. To get permission from the author of the play, he addressed to his patron: “Tosca seems highly convenient opera for me: not a laggard, which provides a basis for a spectacular performance and great opportunities for music.”
But Tosca had to be postponed for a decade; meantime two other masterpieces – operas Manon Lescaut and La Boheme were created. They not only brought Puccini world fame but also became his mature works in which the composer found his style in music and drama, not giving in to the trendy at the time tendencies to write one-act verismo drama.
After the successful premiere of La Boheme, Puccini was completely fascinated by the idea of writing Tosca. He missed the traditional autumn hunt and went to Florence to see the play with the famous Sarah Bernhardt as Floria Tosca, for whom the play was written. Ricordi helped the composer to settle some formalities: Puccini succeeded in terminating the publisher’s contract to write an opera based on the play La Tosca with composer Alberto Franchetti.
The last obstacle to overcome was to get permission from the author, Victorien Sardou. However, after the composer, together with librettists Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa (who wrote the libretto to La Boheme) worked on the libretto to Tosca, making the plot rapid and dynamic, Puccini personally met in Paris with the author of the drama and endorsed new edition of the libretto (decisively rejecting the author’s request to receive royalty).
Such was a long way from production of the idea to creation of the music to Tosca.
Puccini worked on this opera from June 1898 to September 1899. It premiered at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome on 14 January 1900 under the baton of Leopoldo Mugnone. The famous Romanian singer Hariclea Darclée sang the title part. Since the main events of Tosca took place in Rome, Ricordi facilitated the opera to be premiered in Rome also.
Historical events play an important role in the plot of both the opera and the drama Tosca.
The action of Tosca occurs in Rome in 1800 (the drama even specifies the exact dates – June 17-18). Italy had long been divided into a number of small states, with the Pope in Rome ruling the Papal States in Central Italy. Following the French Revolution, a French army under Napoleon invaded Italy, entering Rome in 1798 and establishing a republic there. The new republic was ruled by seven consuls; in the opera, this is the office formerly held by Cesare Angelotti, whose character may be based on the real-life consul Liborio Angelucci. A year later, the French withdrew from Rome which was occupied by the troops of the Kingdom of Naples. The plot of Tosca unfolds when Napoleon brought his troops across the Alps to Italy once again and was close to defeat (at the beginning of Act II the victory over the French was celebrated in Palazzo Farnese), but late in the evening Napoleon won and the Neapolitans abandoned Rome.
The plot of Tosca was well known to Lviv citizens; before the opera was premiered, the drama of Sardou was staged in a local theatre in 1900. The opera of Giacomo Puccini was premiered in Lviv in City Theatre (now Lviv National Opera) in March 1903. The main part was performed for a long time by the famous Polish soprano Janina Korolewicz-Waydowa, but in 1904 during the guest tour, the title role in the opera was performed by the famous Italian singer Gemma Bellincioni.
In June 2021, Tosca returns to Lviv Opera under the baton of music director Ivan Cherednichenko. The performance is performed in memory of late chief conductor Mykhailo Dutchak (1953-2021).
Lyubov Kachala People’s Artist of Ukraine
Lyudmyla Savchuk People`s Artist of Ukraine
Tetyana Olenych winner of the international competition
Mykhajlo Malafij winner of the international competitions
Roman Trochymuk Honored artist of Ukraine
Roman Strakhov winner of the international competition
Yurii Shevchuk winner of the international competition
Orest Sydir People’s Artist of Ukraine
Yurii Trytsetskyi Honored artist of Ukraine
Volodymyr Shynkarenko winner of the international competition
Yurii Trytsetskyi Honored artist of Ukraine
Roman Kovalchuk Honored Artist of Ukraine
Oleh Lanovyy winner of the international competition
Oleg Sadetsky Honored artist of Ukraine
|A Shepherd boy||
Liliya Nikitchuk winner of the international competition