7 comments on “Tosca – November 2013

  1. I’d like to say that Tosca is one of those operas that’s so good that nothing can kill it. Unfortunately it’s not true. A towering achievement as a composition it certainly is but, as with all operas, it can suffer with excessive, mindless and gimmicky tampering – which by its nature distracts from the music and drama. (I’ve seen a production of Fidelio that made me sigh with grief, and one of Carmen that made me want to retch! Though I did leave after the second act of the latter.) From what you say about this production I think I’d have had to hold back a fit of the giggles.

    It may be an apocryphal story (which you might have heard), but there was once famously a production of Tosca at Covent Garden in which the heroine at the close, after hurling herself from the height, landed on some too-springy mattresses which bounced her back up into the audience’s sight!

    • I love the bouncing Tosca story. I fear it may be apocryphal but it is funny nonetheless. I’d heard it before but I had heard it was in San Francisco. You’d heard Covent Garden. I found two notes online purporting to ‘nail it down’; one said it was the Lyric Opera in Chicago in the 1970’s and one said it was the Vienna State Opera in the 1950’s. Who knows? 🙂

      I found another Tosca story that I had not heard before (and must be apocryphal) that is hysterical. Under the heading ‘Tosca – Mass Suicide’

      “The stage director was giving last-minute instruction to the extras hired as soldiers. There had been no stage rehearsal, and he gave them the usual instruction, “exit with the principals”. When Tosca leapt from the parapet, seeing no other principals left on stage, they all dutifully jumped after her. “

      • Now THAT I really like. Those in the audience who were not perplexed must have been in stitches. (I’d be in the latter.)

  2. I think that has much as Zeffirelli’s production was lavish it forgot that in the end Scarpia was a disgusting and vulgar person whose power rested on the corrupt on-goings of the Holy See, since the action takes place at the time when Rome was under Papal repressive rule. Rome is also a vulgar city and in many ways vulgarity as always been part of Roman life. So yes it may offend some but in the end it may also be nearer to the truth.

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