Tosca, Opera by G. Puccini
Together with Madama Butterfly and La Boheme, Tosca, the fifth of twelve operas is one of Puccini’s most famous works. It is undoubtedly one of the Italian composer’s most melodramatic and realistic operas, probably also because of the violence and realism in the text. Puccini captivates listeners with his impressionist and typically French style, and the love of detail he shows in his compositions. Tosca premiered at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome on 14 January 1900 and was an instant success. After the aria in the third act, E lucevan le stele, and also on several other occasions during the evening, Puccini had to take the stage in order to accept tumultuous applause. Despite being warmly received by audiences, Tosca did not meet with the approval of the critics who saw too much cruelty and violence in the work. Nevertheless, Tosca’s popularity spread quickly and within a short time the opera had taken theatres throughout the world by storm and been translated into countless languages.
Musically, the work follows Puccini’s previous style: Continuity in the musical language which is barely interrupted by one or two arias. Dramatically, the second act is of incomparable intensity. With Tosca, Puccini presents a work that is much darker and more harrowing than his previous works. It is a breathtaking drama with an almost unsurpassable tension. The story of Tosca is of a political nature, and is set in Rom in less than twenty-four hours of June 1800, during the Napoleon's invasion of Italy (the battle of Marengo).