Prague National Theatre 31 May 2024 - Tosca | GoComGo.com

Tosca

Prague National Theatre, Prague, Czech Republic
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7 PM

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Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Prague, Czech Republic
Starts at: 19:00

E-tickets: Print at home or at the box office of the event if so specified. You will find more information in your booking confirmation email.

You can only select the category, and not the exact seats.
If you order 2 or 3 tickets: your seats will be next to each other.
If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Overview

The State Opera production of Puccini’s Tosca features Josef Svoboda’s legendary scenery dating from the era of the May the Fifth Grand Opera; it premiered on 4 May 1947. In June 1999, the sets were reproduced by Daniel Dvořák, a pupil of Svoboda’s and the then director of the State Opera Prague. Puccini’s opera about the diva Tosca, her lover, the painter Cavaradossi, and the malicious police chief Baron Scarpia, set in 1800 in Italy during the time of Napoleon’s war against Austria, is one of the most popular operas worldwide.

The State Opera production features Josef Svoboda’s legendary scenery dating from the era of the May the Fifth Grand Opera (today the State Opera). This Tosca production premiered on 4 May 1947, six days prior to the designer’s 27th birthday.  In June 1999, Svoboda’s sets, ranking among the most accomplished in Czech post-war theatre, were reproduced by Daniel Dvořák, a pupil of Svoboda’s and the then director of the State Opera Prague. The faithful copy, made by means of modern technologies, contributed to the great popularity of the production, which also met with an enthusiastic response during the State Opera’s tour of Japan, with the renowned sopranos Maria Guleghina and Eva Marton portraying the title role (2003), as well as in Salzburg (2006). In May 2020, the State Opera will mark the centenary of the birth of the celebrated Czech set designer by staging his memorable production of Tosca.

Giacomo Puccini had mulled over Victorien Sardou’s La Tosca ever since 1889, when he saw in Milan a performance of the drama, starring the feted actress Sarah Bernhardt. Yet owing to the complicated negotiations between his publisher, Giulio Ricordi, and Sardou, and due to Puccini’s working on Manon Lescaut and La bohème, the composition was delayed and Tosca was only completed in 1899. The world premiere of the opera, on 14 January 1900 at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome, was a resounding success, even though some scorned it, including Gustav Mahler, who referred to the work as a “Meistermachwerk” (sham masterpiece), and Richard Strauss, who dismissed it in even harsher terms. Today, the opera about the diva Tosca, her lover, the painter Cavaradossi, and the malicious police chief Baron Scarpia, set in 1800 in Italy during the time of Napoleon’s war against Austria, is one of the most popular operas worldwide.

History
Premiere of this production: 14 January 1900, Teatro Costanzi, Rome

Tosca is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. It premiered at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome on 14 January 1900. The work, based on Victorien Sardou's 1887 French-language dramatic play, La Tosca, is a melodramatic piece set in Rome in June 1800, with the Kingdom of Naples's control of Rome threatened by Napoleon's invasion of Italy. It contains depictions of torture, murder and suicide, as well as some of Puccini's best-known lyrical arias.

Synopsis

Act 1

Inside the church of Sant'Andrea della Valle

Scene depicting a church interior with high stained-glass windows and heavy ornamental columns. The central figure is a high dignatory around whom several figures are kneeling, while in the background can be seen the tall pikes of the Swiss Guard.
Cesare Angelotti, former consul of the Roman Republic and now an escaped political prisoner, runs into the church and hides in the Attavanti private chapel – his sister, the Marchesa Attavanti, has left a key to the chapel hidden at the feet of the statue of the Madonna. The elderly Sacristan enters and begins cleaning. The Sacristan kneels in prayer as the Angelus sounds.

The painter Mario Cavaradossi arrives to continue work on his picture of Mary Magdalene. The Sacristan identifies a likeness between the portrait and a blonde-haired woman who has been visiting the church recently (unknown to him, it is Angelotti's sister the Marchesa). Cavaradossi describes the "hidden harmony" ("Recondita armonia") in the contrast between the blonde beauty of his painting and his dark-haired lover, the singer Floria Tosca. The Sacristan mumbles his disapproval before leaving.

Angelotti emerges and tells Cavaradossi, an old friend who has republican sympathies, that he is being pursued by the Chief of Police, Baron Scarpia. Cavaradossi promises to assist him after nightfall. Tosca's voice is heard, calling to Cavaradossi. Cavaradossi gives Angelotti his basket of food and Angelotti hurriedly returns to his hiding place.

Tosca enters and suspiciously asks Cavaradossi what he has been doing – she thinks that he has been talking to another woman. Cavaradossi reassures her and Tosca tries to persuade him to take her to his villa that evening: "Non la sospiri, la nostra casetta" ("Do you not long for our little cottage"). She then expresses jealousy over the woman in the painting, whom she recognises as the Marchesa Attavanti. Cavaradossi explains the likeness; he has merely observed the Marchesa at prayer in the church. He reassures Tosca of his fidelity and asks her what eyes could be more beautiful than her own: "Qual'occhio al mondo" ("What eyes in the world").

After Tosca has left, Angelotti reappears and discusses with the painter his plan to flee disguised as a woman, using clothes left in the chapel by his sister. Cavaradossi gives Angelotti a key to his villa, suggesting that he hide in a disused well in the garden. The sound of a cannon signals that Angelotti's escape has been discovered. He and Cavaradossi hasten out of the church.

The Sacristan re-enters with choristers, celebrating the news that Napoleon has apparently been defeated at Marengo. The celebrations cease abruptly with the entry of Scarpia, his henchman Spoletta and several police agents. They have heard that Angelotti has sought refuge in the church. Scarpia orders a search, and the empty food basket and a fan bearing the Attavanti coat of arms are found in the chapel. Scarpia questions the Sacristan, and his suspicions are aroused further when he learns that Cavaradossi has been in the church; Scarpia mistrusts the painter, and believes him complicit in Angelotti's escape.

When Tosca arrives looking for her lover, Scarpia artfully arouses her jealous instincts by implying a relationship between the painter and the Marchesa Attavanti. He draws Tosca's attention to the fan and suggests that someone must have surprised the lovers in the chapel. Tosca falls for his deceit; enraged, she rushes off to confront Cavaradossi. Scarpia orders Spoletta and his agents to follow her, assuming she will lead them to Cavaradossi and Angelotti. He privately gloats as he reveals his intentions to possess Tosca and execute Cavaradossi. A procession enters the church singing the Te Deum; exclaiming 'Tosca, you make me forget even God!', Scarpia joins the chorus in the prayer.

Act 2

The body of a man lies supine, with a woman, crucifix in hand, kneeling over him. A candle is placed to each side of his head.
Scarpia's apartment in the Palazzo Farnese, that evening

Scarpia, at supper, sends a note to Tosca asking her to come to his apartment, anticipating that two of his goals will soon be fulfilled at once. His agent, Spoletta, arrives to report that Angelotti remains at large, but Cavaradossi has been arrested for questioning. He is brought in, and an interrogation ensues. As the painter steadfastly denies knowing anything about Angelotti's escape, Tosca's voice is heard singing a celebratory cantata elsewhere in the Palace.

She enters the apartment in time to see Cavaradossi being escorted to an antechamber. All he has time to say is that she mustn't tell them anything. Scarpia then claims she can save her lover from indescribable pain if she reveals Angelotti's hiding place. She resists, but the sound of screams coming through the door eventually breaks her down, and she tells Scarpia to search the well in the garden of Cavaradossi's villa.

Scarpia orders his torturers to cease, and the bloodied painter is dragged back in. He's devastated to discover that Tosca has betrayed his friend. Sciarrone, another agent, then enters with news: there was an upset on the battlefield at Marengo, and the French are marching on Rome. Cavaradossi, unable to contain himself, gloats to Scarpia that his rule of terror will soon be at an end. This is enough for the police to consider him guilty, and they haul him away to be shot.

Scarpia, now alone with Tosca, proposes a bargain: if she gives herself to him, Cavaradossi will be freed. She is revolted, and repeatedly rejects his advances, but she hears the drums outside announcing an execution. As Scarpia awaits her decision, she prays, asking why God has abandoned her in her hour of need: "Vissi d'arte" ("I lived for art"). She tries to offer money, but Scarpia isn't interested in that kind of bribe: he wants Tosca herself.

Spoletta returns with the news that Angelotti has killed himself upon discovery, and that everything is in place for Cavaradossi's execution. Scarpia hesitates to give the order, looking to Tosca, and despairingly she agrees to submit to him. He tells Spoletta to arrange a mock execution, both men repeating that it will be "as we did with Count Palmieri," and Spoletta exits.

Tosca insists that Scarpia must provide safe-conduct out of Rome for herself and Cavaradossi. He easily agrees to this and heads to his desk. While he's drafting the document, she quietly takes a knife from the supper table. Scarpia triumphantly strides toward Tosca. When he begins to embrace her, she stabs him, crying "this is Tosca's kiss!" Once she's certain he's dead, she ruefully says "now I forgive him." She removes the safe-conduct from his pocket, lights candles in a gesture of piety, and places a crucifix on the body before leaving.

Act 3

The upper parts of the Castel Sant'Angelo, early the following morning

Roman panorama showing, centre, an arched bridge over a river with a domed building in the distance. To the right of the bridge is a large circular fortress.
A shepherd boy is heard offstage singing (in Romanesco dialect) "Io de' sospiri" ("I give you sighs") as church bells sound for matins. The guards lead Cavaradossi in and inform him that he has one hour to live. He declines to see a priest, but asks permission to write a letter to Tosca. He begins to write, but is soon overwhelmed by memories: "E lucevan le stelle" ("And the stars shone").

Tosca enters and shows him the safe-conduct pass she's obtained, adding that she has killed Scarpia and that the imminent execution is a sham. Cavaradossi must feign death, after which they can flee together before Scarpia's body is discovered. Cavaradossi is awestruck by his gentle lover's courage: "O dolci mani" ("Oh sweet hands"). The pair ecstatically imagines the life they will share, far from Rome. Tosca then anxiously coaches Cavaradossi on how to play dead when the firing squad shoots at him with blanks. He giddily promises he'll fall "like Tosca in the theatre."

Cavaradossi is led away, and Tosca watches with increasing impatience as the execution is prepared. The men fire, Cavaradossi falls, and Tosca exclaims "Ecco un artista!" ("What an actor!"). When the soldiers have all left, she hurries towards Cavaradossi, only to find that Scarpia betrayed her: the bullets were real. Heartbroken, she clasps her lover's lifeless body and weeps.

The voices of Spoletta, Sciarrone, and the soldiers are heard, shouting that Scarpia is dead and Tosca has killed him. As the men rush in, Tosca rises, evades their clutches, and runs to the parapet. Crying "O Scarpia, Avanti a Dio!" ("O Scarpia, we meet before God!"), she flings herself over the edge to her death.

Venue Info

Prague National Theatre - Prague
Location   Národní 2

The National Theatre is the prime stage of the Czech Republic. It is also one of the symbols of national identity and a part of the European cultural space, with a tradition spanning more than 130 years. It is the bearer of the national cultural heritage, as well as a space for free artistic creation.

The National Theatre (Czech: Národní divadlo) in Prague is known as the alma mater of Czech opera, and as the national monument of Czech history and art.

The National Theatre belongs to the most important Czech cultural institutions, with a rich artistic tradition, which helped to preserve and develop the most important features of the nation–the Czech language and a sense for a Czech musical and dramatic way of thinking.

Today, the National Theatre is made up of four artistic companies – the Opera, Drama, Ballet and Laterna magika. It artistically manages four stages – the three historical buildings: the National Theatre (1883), the State Opera (1888), and the Estates Theatre (1783), and the more recently opened New Stage (1983). The Opera, Drama and Ballet companies perform not only titles from the ample classical legacy, in addition to Czech works, they also focus on contemporary international creation.

Grand opening

The National Theatre was opened for the first time on 11 June 1881, to honour the visit of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria. Bedřich Smetana's opera Libuše was given its world premiere, conducted by Adolf Čech. Another 11 performances were presented after that. Then the theatre was closed down to enable the completion of the finishing touches. While this work was under way a fire broke out on 12 August 1881, which destroyed the copper dome, the auditorium, and the stage of the theatre.

The fire was seen as a national catastrophe and was met with a mighty wave of determination to take up a new collection: Within 47 days a million guldens were collected. This national enthusiasm, however, did not correspond to the behind-the-scenes battles that flared up following the catastrophe. Architect Josef Zítek was no longer in the running, and his pupil architect Josef Schulz was summoned to work on the reconstruction. He was the one to assert the expansion of the edifice to include the block of flats belonging to Dr. Polák that was situated behind the building of the Provisional Theatre. He made this building a part of the National Theatre and simultaneously changed somewhat the area of the auditorium to improve visibility. He did, however, take into account with utmost sensitivity the style of Zítek's design, and so he managed to merge three buildings by various architects to form an absolute unity of style.

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Prague, Czech Republic
Starts at: 19:00
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