Torture, murder and suicide … the clock ticks.
Tenacious diva, Floria Tosca, is thrust into a no-win situation after her lover, the painter Mario, assists the escape of a political prisoner. They are cornered by the corrupt Scarpia. Each decision she makes brings fate, and disaster, one step closer.
The church of Sant’Andrea della Valle. The escaped Bonapartist prisoner Cesare Angelotti enters the church, surveys the statue of the Blessed Virgin, and finds at her feet a key which he uses to enter his family’s private chapel to hide. The painter Mario Cavaradossi arrives to work on his portrait of Mary Magdalene–based on Angelotti’s sister, the Marchesa Attavanti, who has been a frequent visitor to the church. [He compares the two beauties of his work–the blonde, blue-eyed saint and the fiery Floria Tosca, the famous singer who is his lover.] Angelotti comes out of the chapel. Cavaradossi, recognizing him, offers his help. The exhausted and famished Angelotti gratefully accepts Cavaradossi’s lunch basket and quickly hides again as Tosca’s voice is heard outside. Tosca enters and immediately assumes that Mario was meeting another woman. Her jealousy explodes when she sees the blue eyes of the Magdalene. Mario reassures her, and they plan to spend the evening together. She leaves, and Angelotti re-emerges. They hear the cannon blast signifying an escaped prisoner, and Cavaradossi offers to escort Angelotti to a hiding place at his villa. They slip away. The Sacristan, choristers and acolytes enter excitedly to prepare a Te Deum to celebrate the victory over Napoleon at Marengo. Baron Scarpia, the chief of police, appears, hot on Angelotti’s trail. He orders his officers to search the Attavanti chapel, and he finds a fan with the family crest. Tosca enters, surprised not to find Mario at work. Scarpia greets her with the fan, and Tosca’s suspicions appear confirmed. She leaves the church in tears and Scarpia orders his men to follow her. While the choir sings, he raises his voice in jubilation: the fugitives will reappear and Tosca will run straight into his arms.
Scarpia’s chambers in the upper floors of the Palazzo Farnese. He is dining. He gives Sciarrone a letter to deliver to Tosca, who will be singing a cantata in the royal apartments below. The spy Spoletta enters with news of their mission. He has not found Angelotti, but he has arrested and delivered Cavaradossi, whom Scarpia threatens with torture if he does not reveal the hiding place. Tosca, her performance completed, enters in haste. Scarpia sends Cavaradossi to the torture chamber and interrogates Tosca while Cavaradossi’s groans are heard. Unable to withstand his pain, she gives away Angelotti’s safety. Cavaradossi is dragged back in, unconscious. Tosca covers him with tears and kisses. He comes to and demands whether she has disclosed any information. She denies it. Scarpia loudly sends Spoletta to “the well in the garden!” Cavaradossi is furious. Sciarrone runs in with the news that Napoleon has, in fact, won the victory at Marengo. Cavaradossi props himself up and laughs defiantly in the face of Scarpia–who immediately orders his execution. Now that Tosca is alone with Scarpia, he suggests a bargain. Cavaradossi could go free for the price … of Tosca. Tosca appeals to heaven. Spoletta enters with the news that Angelotti, upon finding himself discovered, has swallowed poison. Knowing Cavaradossi’s fate is in her hands, she, weeping, agrees to Scarpia’s proposition. He directs Spoletta to perform a mock execution. Tosca demands that he provide a safe-conduct for her and Cavaradossi afterward. While he is writing the paper, Tosca notices a knife on the table and cautiously takes it. He finishes, turns to take her in his arms–and she stabs him in the heart. She retrieves the pass and steals away.
A platform of the Castel Sant’Angelo. Just before dawn, Cavaradossi is told he has an hour to live. He bribes the jailer to let him write a letter. Tosca brings in the safe-conduct, spills the story and they exult together. She coaches him to die convincingly. The firing squad approaches. The necessary preparations are made. The Sergeant offers to blindfold Cavaradossi, and he refuses. When all is in place, the soldiers fire, and Cavaradossi falls. Tosca waits until everyone has left … then realizes her love will not rise again. The execution was real: Scarpia’s final vengeance. Hearing voices shout that she has murdered Scarpia, she declares she will meet him before God. She leaps.
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Cavaradossi, Tosca (through August 1)
Roméo, Roméo et Juliette, 2016
B.F. Pinkerton, Madama Butterfly, 2018 (July 30 – August 24)
Hometown: London, UK
Tosca (SFO Debut)
Hometown: London, England
The Elixir of Love, 2009
Roméo et Juliette, 2016