Tosca

Giacomo Puccini (1858 – 1924)

Information on the piece

Melodramma in 3 acts
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
based on the drama LA TOSCA by Victorien Sardou
First performed on 14th January 1900 in Rome
Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 13th April 1969

Recommended from 13 years on

3 hrs 15 mins / 2 intervals

In Italian with German and English surtitles

Pre-performance lecture (in German): 45 minutes prior to each performance

Share this post
Cast
supported by

The Children’s Chorus is sponsored by Engel & Völkers and Dobolino e.V. [the support association for the Children’s Chorus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin] and Berliner Volksbank

Cast
About the performance

Puccini's "Torture Opera", as Oskar Bie dubbed it, was based on LA TOSCA, the well received play by Victorien Sardou [1831–1908], which premiered in Paris in 1887 with Sarah Bernhardt in the title role. Puccini attended a performance of the play in Milan during an 1889 tour and found the subject matter interesting, although the Tosca project was to remain dormant for another six years. Puccini's interest in the work grew, doubtless prompted by another viewing of the Sardou play in Florence and by Luigi Illica's work on a TOSCA libretto for composer Alberto Franchetti [1860–1942]. Following a "conspiracy" between Puccini, Illica and Ricordi, the publisher successfully persuaded Franchetti to abandon his TOSCA project and to surrender the scoring rights to Puccini.

As in all other Puccini operas TOSCA amply demonstrates the mutual causality between humane attentiveness and culinary pleasure when the composer's artistic intention becomes the benchmark for interpretations. The outcry and resignation are the two fundamental prerequisites for the human attention paid by Puccini: The empathy reflected in his composition, far from contenting itself with abstract gestures, aims to disturb and transform. The "small things" - Puccini refers to them with modern understatement as his preferred focus of attention – become "large issues", provided that we want this to happen.

In view of the connection between Puccini's choice of subject matter (directly and indirectly inspired by Zola, Hauptmann and Gorki) and his method of composition it is natural that we crown him Verdi's successor and confer on him the badge of "verismo". He is known to have been a great admirer of Wagner and anything but a second-rate imitator. He created a very personal bond with Verdi and Wagner by taking his inspiration from both masters. He took all their harmony refinements and subtleties of instrumentation and managed to detach the voice somewhat from the orchestra, all the while giving it a far more fragmented and melodically sensitive accompagnato in the orchestra than the radical and laconic Verdi ever had. This is also mirrored in the aesthetic theme of Tosca. Puccini's musical statement is as brutal as it is tender, as intelligent as it is sentimental, as precise as it is dreamy. Puccini's watchwords are authenticity, precision of musical detail, social awareness, the poetic sound of the ostensibly mundane, heroism coupled with shrewdness, the contrast between passionate commitment and cold remoteness.

The Chief of Police Scarpia, the singer Floria Tosca and the artist Cavaradossi in their different ways, all insist on their personal freedom to act as they please - Scarpia as a condition of his claim to power, Cavaradossi in his rebellious urge to bring about change and Tosca as an expression of a plain, unlimited love.

At a time of momentous change such attitudes take on an exemplary significance. Depending on how we view Puccini and ourselves today, we can approach TOSCA as a romantic shocker or as a bad omen for freedom. Whatever our attitude, each of these very different individuals in the triangular relationship pays the ultimate price for his or her actions. Their deaths are not accompanied by a glorious halo marked Redemption; they are bitter, horrific, definitive.

Götz Friedrich's 1987 reappraisal of Boleslaw Barlog's straightforward and unadulterated interpretation in 1969 takes Puccini's intentions literally: the mutual causality between humane attentiveness and culinary pleasure is nourished by the music and feeds, in turn, into the scenic interpretation

Our articles on the subject

Dr Takt on Giacomo Puccini's "Tosca" / Act I, fourth meter before figure 5
Firearms

Newsletter

News about the schedule
and the start of advance booking
Personal recommendations
Special offers ...
Stay well informed!

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to our Newsletter and receive 25% off your next ticket purchase.

* Mandatory field






Newsletter

03
DEC

Today we are giving away 2 x 2 free tickets for the performance of DIE FLEDERMAUS on 31 December 2022 at 7.30 pm. If you would like to take part in the prize draw, please send an e-mail today to marketing@deutscheoperberlin.de with the subject "Das 3. Fensterchen".

In 2018, the curtain rose on a new production of FLEDERMAUS directed by Rolando Villazón. For the busy singer, director, presenter and author, this production was a matter close to his heart, as he was able to play with comic elements in Strauss’ master operetta on the one hand, but also give space to the melancholic and thoughtful on the other. For Strauss's operetta is about cheating, underground parties and the beguiling power of champagne, but also about the description of social facades and above all the abysses that lurk at the back of the bourgeois salon. And because there is always betrayal, partying and drinking, Villazón sets the three acts in three different times and takes the audience on a journey from the 19th century through the 1950s to the future.

It was already a novelty in 1874 at the Theater an der Wien that the waltz king Johann Strauss presented a plot that was not set in mythical faraway places or in fantasy states, but took the upper middle-class salon as its starting point. The bourgeois audience saw itself, with all its conceit, its double standards, grotesquely distorted on stage. The story was not new, of course: Strauß and his collaborator Genée drew on a French tabloid comedy by the Offenbach librettists Meilhac and Halévy, but supplemented it with piquant details. For example, the appearance of the disguised Rosalinde at Prince Orlofsky's ball. In general, the intensification and centring of the plot on the masquerade party with the final homage to alcohol, the general fraternisation and the champagne-loving du-i-du is due to Genée. Otherwise, the farce about cheating has all the ingredients of a good comedy: The rebellious chambermaid, the hidden lover, the self-adulterous but jealous husband and the disguised countess.

Burkhard Ulrich, Hulkar Sabirova, Annika Schlicht, Attilio Glaser, Padraic Rowan, Thomas Lehman, Jörg Schörner, Meechot Marrero, Kathleen Bauer and Ingo Paulick sing and play for you under the musical direction of Yi-Chen Lin.



Closing date: 3 December 2022. The winners will be informed by e-mail on 5 December 2022. The tickets will be sent to you by e-mails. The legal process is excluded.