The famous opera by Puccini dates from the turn of the 20th century and is based on the eponymous French play. This performance at the National Theatre gets an innovative treatment by director Arnaud Bernard. The result is a three-hour performance that will have you hooked.
The story takes place in Rome, where liberator Napoleon Bonaparte is heading. Cesare Angelotti, a member of the Italian insurrection movement, has escaped from prison and takes refuge with his long-time friend, painter Mario, whose lover is a famous singer, Tosca. Meanwhile, the cruel police chief Scarpia is after Cesare and wants Tosca; Mario is a thorn in his side. Scarpia kidnaps and interrogates him, but because Mario refuses to betray his friend, Scarpia tortures him in the presence of Tosca. She cannot bear the groans of Mario as he suffers and in doing so reveals Cesare’s whereabouts. Scarpia now has the courageous Mario in his hold, and seeks his release so that Tosca will give herself to him...
The opera has a darker spirit more reminiscent of a thriller, emphasised by the music, which subtly builds up the tension and the contrasts between silence and explosive moments. You will be gripped by the grim scene precisely evoked by the young designer Camille Dugas, and the police costumes reminiscent of Nazi uniforms, which together evoke the atmosphere of totalitarian regimes. Incidentally, the opera is described as taking place in the modern era, in the interwar period. Tosca, played by soprano Anda-Louise Bogza, is, in terms of singing and acting the most significant character. If she acts as a jealous lover in the first act, in the second she acquires a charismatic strength and, through her moral struggle, even tragic greatness.
The opera is performed in three acts and in the original Italian version, with English and Czech subtitles.