Antonio Pappano takes an in-depth look at one of the most famous and dramatic of all operas - Puccini's Tosca. This documentary goes behind the scenes of the recent production of Tosca by the Royal Opera House conducted by Pappano and starring some of the hottest names on the opera stage today - Angela Gheorghiu, Bryn Terfel and Jonas Kaufmann. Pappano examines the drama and musical language of Tosca and explores Puccini's creative genius in producing one of the greatest of theatrical experiences.
A superlative staging of Puccini’s Tosca by Italian opera producer Hugo de Ana brought to you from the world-famous Arena di Verona and complete with all the splendour that a Puccini opera demands! The popular tragedy is sung by a dream team cast of excellent singer-actors and conducted by long-established Arena di Verona conductor Daniel Oren.
It is no exaggeration to say that the two performances of Tosca at the Royal Opera House in July 2011 - with Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel as the leads - were opera history in the making and by far the hottest tickets in town.
This production from the historic Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova, Italy, stars the opera worlds power couple, Daniela Dessì and Fabio Armiliato, as lovers Tosca and Cavaradossi. A tragic tale of doomed love interlaced with the age-old themes of jealousy, lust and intrigue, has ensured Tosca its place in the top ten of opera favourites. The task of putting Tosca on the stage in a way that is credible and timeless is both straightforward and difficult. For the three main roles the unscrupulous police chief Vitellio Scarpia and the painter Mario Cavaradossi, who provide a framework for Floria Tosca, a famous singer, all you need is star performers of the required virtuosity, although they do need to display a certain enjoyment in performing something one has never been able to take for granted in music theatre.
“Jonas Kaufmann as Cavaradossi sings perhaps one of his greatest roles: E lucevan le stelle is unbelievably moving, and his cry of "Vittoria! Vittoria!" is guaranteed to make your hair stand on end! Angela Gheorghiu is a passionate Tosca, and Bryn Terfel unctuously oozes sleaze in a chilling portrayal of Scarpia.” (James Longstaffe)
Tosca was revived to great acclaim at La Scala in this 2000 production, which built on Luca Ronconi's 1996 version with musical direction from principal conductor Riccardo Muti and Lorenza Cantini's nightmarishly distorted set. Puccini's most recorded opera is loved and derided in equal measure for its high-octane dramatics, rich arias and the fire-spitting exchanges of the eponymous heroine and her wily tormentor Scarpia. Under Muti, the music takes precedence over the self-conscious theatricality of the book. As a result, some high dramatic points–the stabbing, always tricky, and Tosca's suicide, equally dicey–are underplayed here…