Questo è il bacio di Tosca –
This is the kiss of Tosca!
With those words, opera singer Floria Tosca stabs Scarpia, the evil police chief who has tortured her lover, the painter Cavaradossi, and now threatens her. One of the most tightly written and fast-paced of operas, Puccini’s Tosca is a tour de force that combines soaring music, true love, and political intrigue into three acts of headlong drama. Don’t miss this production of one of the most justifiably popular operas ever written.
Madison Opera Debut: Opera in the Park 2008
Recently: Senta, The Flying Dutchman (Glimmerglass Festival); Tosca, Tosca (San Francisco Opera); Pamina, The Magic Flute (Opéra National de Bordeaux); Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni (Opera Colorado, Atlanta Opera); Julie, Show Boat (Houston Grand Opera); Régine Saint Lauren, world premiere of Prima Donna (New York City Opera); Susan Rescorla, world premiere of Heart of a Soldier (San Francisco Opera)
Upcoming: Marta, The Passenger, Freia, Das Rheingold (Houston Grand Opera); Alice Ford, Falstaff (Opera Santa Barbara)
CavaradossiMadison Opera Debut: La Traviata
Recently with MO: La Bohème, Madama Butterfly, Opera in the Park 2004
Recently: Calaf, Turandot (Minnesota Opera, Sarasota Opera); Turiddu, Cavalleria Rusticana (New Israeli Opera); Manrico, Il Trovatore (Utah Opera, Opera Roanoke), Don José, Carmen (Nashville Opera, Kentucky Opera); Rodolfo, La Bohème (Angers-Nantes Opera)
Upcoming: Luigi, Il Tabarro (Opera Köln); Cavaradossi, Tosca (Austin Lyric Opera)
Scarpia: Nmon Ford
Madison Opera Debut: Carmen
Recently with Madison Opera: Opera in the Park 2013
Recently: Macbeth, Macbeth (Long Beach Opera); Jochanaan, Salome (Opéra National de Bordeaux); Riolobo, Florencia en el Amazonas (Utah Opera); Zurga, The Pearl Fishers (Michigan Opera Theater); Don Giovanni, Don Giovanni (Teatro Communale di Bologna); Germont, La Traviata (Kalamazoo Opera); Escamillo, Carmen (Szeged Open-Air Festival, Teatro Sociale di Rovigo)
Upcoming: Carmina Burana (Atlanta Symphony); Sacred Service (Knoxville Symphony)
Angelotti: Ryan Kuster
Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Escamillo, Carmen (San Francisco Opera); Masetto, Don Giovanni (Cincinnati Opera, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic); Don Giovanni, Don Giovanni (Wolf Trap Opera); Mandarin, Turandot (Dallas Opera); Angelotti, Tosca (Pacific Symphony); Alidoro, La Cenerentola (Nashville Opera)
Upcoming: Colline, La Bohème (Arizona Opera); Escamillo, Carmen (Opera Colorado, Virginia Opera
Sacristan: Nikolas Wenzel
Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Sarastro, The Magic Flute and Don Magnifico, La Cenerentola (Opera in the Neighborhoods – Lyric Opera of Chicago); Fafner, Das Rheingold (Union Avenue Opera); Old Man, Alice in Wonderland and Lillas Pastia, Carmen (Opera Theatre of St. Louis)
Spoletta: Scott Brunscheen
Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Roderick (cover), The Fall of the House of Usher (Chicago Opera Theater), Toby (cover), Sweeney Todd (Opera Theatre of St. Louis); Belmonte, Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Candid Concert Opera); Don Ramiro, La Cenerentola (Lyric Opera of Chicago Outreach); Don Ottavio, Don Giovanni (Opera New Jersey)
Upcoming: Don Ramiro, La Cenerentola (Candid Concert Opera)
Sciarrone: Kenneth Stavert
Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Gregorio, Roméo et Juliette (Des Moines Metro Opera, Palm Beach Opera); Antonio, Le nozze di Figaro (Dayton Opera); Ben, The Telephone (Florida Opera Theatre); Prince Yamadori, Madama Butterfly, Normanno, Lucia di Lammermoor, Sciarrone, Tosca (Palm Beach Opera)
Upcoming: Orff’s Carmina Burana (Voices of the Commonwealth); Handel’s Messiah (Dayton Philharmonic)
Conductor: John DeMain
Director: A. Scott Parry
Sung in Italian with projected English translations
Friday, November 1, 2013 | 8pm
Sunday, November 3, 2013 | 2:30pm
Run time: approx. 2 hours 45 minutes, including two intermissions
The Story of the 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, an old Sacristan shuffles in, praying at the sound of the Angelus. Cavaradossi enters to work on his portrait of Mary Magdalene – inspired by the Marchesa Attavanti (Angelotti’s sister), whom he has seen but does not know. Taking out a miniature of the singer Floria Tosca, he compares her raven beauty with that of the blonde Magdalene. The Sacristan grumbles disapproval and leaves. Angelotti ventures out and is recognized by his friend and fellow liberal Cavaradossi, who gives him food and hurries him back into the chapel as Tosca is heard calling outside. Forever suspicious, she jealously questions him, then prays, and reminds him of their rendezvous that evening at his villa. Suddenly recognizing the Marchesa Attavanti in the painting, she explodes with renewed suspicions, but he reassures her. When she has gone, Cavaradossi summons Angelotti from the chapel; a cannon signals that the police have discovered the escape, so the two flee to Cavaradossi’s villa. Meanwhile, the Sacristan returns with choirboys who are to sing in 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 comes back to her lover, Scarpia shows her a fan with the Attavanti crest, which he has just found. Thinking Cavaradossi 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.
ACT II. In the Farnese Palace, Scarpia anticipates the sadistic pleasure of bending Tosca to his will. The spy Spoletta arrives, not having found Angelotti; to placate the baron he brings in Cavaradossi, who is interrogated 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: his arrogant silence is to be broken under torture. Unnerved by Scarpia’s questioning and the sound of Cavaradossi’s screams, she reveals Angelotti’s hiding place. Cavaradossi is carried in; realizing what has happened, he turns on Tosca, but the officer Sciarrone rushes in to announce that Napoleon has won the Battle of Marengo, a defeat for Scarpia’s side. Cavaradossi shouts his defiance of tyranny and is dragged to prison. Scarpia, resuming his supper, 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. 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 the prisoner, after which he is to be freed; Spoletta leaves. No sooner has Scarpia written a safe-conduct for the lovers than Tosca snatches a knife from the table and kills him. Wrenching the document from his stiffening fingers and placing candles at his head and a crucifix on his chest, she slips from the room.
ACT III. The voice of a shepherd is heard as church bells toll the dawn. Cavaradossi 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. Suddenly Tosca runs in, filled with the story of her recent adventures. Cavaradossi caresses the hands that committed murder for his sake, and the two hail their future. As the firing squad appears, the diva coaches Cavaradossi on how to fake his death convincingly; the soldiers fire and depart. Tosca urges Cavaradossi 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.
–Courtesy of Opera News