Opera in three acts music by Giacomo Puccini
Victorien Sardou’s drama La Tosca was created for the great actress Sarah Bernhardt. Puccini saw Sardou’s play when it was touring Italy in 1889 and, after some vacillation, obtained the rights to turn the work into an opera six years later. Turning the wordy French play into a succinct Italian opera took four years, during which the composer repeatedly argued with his librettists and publisher. The work 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, yet also includes some of Puccini’s best-known lyrical arias, and has inspired memorable performances from many of opera’s leading singers. The dramatic force of Toscaand its characters continues to fascinate both performers and audiences, and the work remains one of the most frequently performed operas.
At the Mikhailovsky Theatre one can hear the best soloists of the house.