Tosca staged by Yuri Alexandrov is a timeless story about everyone who plays, writes and composes.
Tosca is an immortal opera that has never ceased to stir the hearts of listeners all over the world for more than a century. Puccini dreamed of Tosca for almost eleven years, ever since he acknowledged with the play of the same name by Victorien Sardou. The king of French playwrights, at one time, wrote it especially for the actress Sarah Bernhardt who had great success in the role of the main character. The story of tragic love, unfolding in Italy during a dark era of reaction, when Napoleon was considered a symbol of freedom, has generated interest as a possible source for the libretto among many composers. However, it was Puccini’s music that gave eternal life to the melodramatic figures of Sardou, and today few can remember the original source.
This masterpiece staged by Yuri Alexandrov, was reborn by the artistic director on the stage of the St. Petersburg Opera. This is a performance with luxurious spectacular scenery, where the main emphasis is placed on actors-singers who have not only beautiful voices, but also very temperamental by their nature.
Church of Sant’Andrea della Valle in Rome, June 1800.
Cesare Angelotti, consul of the fallen Roman Republic, escapes from the prison of Sant'Angelo and hides in the church of Sant'Andrea. His sister, the Marchesa Attavanti, prepared everything needed to escape in the family chapel. He finds the key to the chapel at the appointed place, opens the gate and disappears into the depths. The Sacristan enters. He complains about the numerous assignments that the painter Cavaradossi gives him.
The bell rings for prayer, and the Sacristan kneels. At this moment, he is caught by Cavaradossi. The artist examines the sketches for his painting. This is Mary Magdalene. The sacristan recognizes in the image a stranger who has come to church for several days in a row. Indeed, Cavaradossi portrayed the Marchesa Attavanti, under cover of prayer, preparing the escape of her brother. Cavaradossi dismisses the sacristan and returns to work.
Angelotti, thinking that the church is empty, leaves the chapel. The painter turns around at the sound of the unlocked lock, recognizes the fugitive and hurries to meet him. Their conversation is interrupted by the appearance of Floria Tosca. She came to arrange a date with Cavaradossi at their villa after her evening performance. Cavaradossi manages to give the fugitive a basket of food before Tosca arrives and again pushes him to the chapel to hide. Then he hurries to meet his beloved. He is absent-minded. He cannot wait for Floria to leave, and then he can help Angelotti. Tosca notices the image of the Magdalene and recognizes it as the Marquis of Attavanti. She is jealous and suspects the artist of treason, but Cavaradossi denies everything and calms her down.
The lovers part, Cavaradossi can return to Angelotti. Sister Angelotti hid women's clothes in the chapel, which the fugitive must change into. The artist gives him the key to his villa and tells him where to hide if necessary. A volley from the cannon of the prison of Sant'Angelo notifies the neighborhood of the escape of the criminal, the artist and the consul leave the church together.
The sacristan runs into the church and calls the choristers to inform them of the celebration of the Austrian victory over Napoleon. Singers anticipating double pay are making noise and fun. The fun is interrupted by the arrival of Scarpia, the head of the papal police, who is looking for the fugitive. Spoletta and the police follow him. Scarpia interrogates the sacristan and discovers in the unlocked chapel a fan with the family coat of arms and an empty basket. He suspects not only the Marquis, but also the artist of preparing the escape.
Tosca comes to postpone the date with his beloved and, not finding the artist on the spot, begins to suspect him of treason with renewed vigor. Hoping that the singer's jealousy will lead him to Angelotti’s hideout, Scarpia shows Tosca a fan. Tosca recognizes the coat of arms and, with the firm conviction that Cavaradossi is carried away by the Marquis, hurries to the villa. Scarpia sends Spoletta after her, anticipating the success of a ploy that will put in his power not only the head of the Republicans, but also a beautiful, ardent singer. The chant “We praise God to you,” which came from the depths of the church, makes Scarpia shudder, as if he wakes up from a dream, comes to his senses and joins the prayer.
Scarpia’s room on the top floor of Palazzo Farnese.
While General Melas’ victory is celebrated in adjoining halls, Scarpia sits at a laid table, awaiting news from the detectives. He anticipates the pleasure he will experience by forcing the singer to surrender to him. Spoletta enters. He did not find any trace of Angelotti in the villa, but he arrested Cavaradossi for complicity. Scarpia interrogates the artist. He denies all charges. Tosca runs in, caused by a note from the head of police. Cavaradossi is taken to the torture room. He barely has time to give the singer a sign to be silent.
Scarpia interrogates Tosca, who pretends to know nothing. The baron explains to her that the artist is being tortured, and Tosca, hearing his screams, reveals the place where Angelotti is hiding. Scarpia stops the torture and orders the artist to be brought in. Having regained consciousness, he learns that Tosca confessed everything, and curses her. When Scarpia announces the victory of Napoleon at Marengo, the artist rejoices, but Scarpia, with a sneer, replies that the artist will be executed.
Scarpia restrains Tosca, who is trying to follow Cavaradossi, and his tone immediately becomes sweet: “Are you upset? Sit down. Let’s think about how to save him? Tosca asks. Scarpia replies that her love will be the price. Longing begs Scarpia for mercy, but he is adamant.
The conversation is interrupted by Spoletta: Angelotti shot himself during his arrest; everything is ready for the execution of Cavaradossi. This news broke Tosca's resistance, but she demands that her lover be released immediately. Scarpia cannot fulfill this, and he has to pretend that he fulfills her demands: Cavaradossi will be shot blank. Having given the order to Spoletta, he wants to finally receive his reward, but Tosca asks for another letter of protection in order to leave Rome with his beloved. While the baron is writing, the singer notices a dagger on the table and secretly takes it. Having finished writing, Scarpia approaches Tosca to hug her. But voluptuous intonations turn into a cry of horror – Tosca hits him with a dagger. The baron dies at her feet, and she takes a security certificate and runs out of the room.
The Castel Sant'Angelo. Pre-dawn twilight. The shepherd’s song is heard. The guard brings Cavaradossi and hands him over to the jailer. Only an hour before execution. Cavaradossi gives the ring to the jailer to deliver his letter to Tosca. The artist writes, he is captured by the memories of his beloved.
Tosca enters, shows the security letter and talks about the agreement with Scarpia and the murder. Cavaradossi kisses her hands, revenge on the villain. Lovers dream of future happiness. A firing squad arrives. Longing asks the beloved to truthfully fulfill his role. A volley is fired, the artist falls. The sergeant approaches him and confirms death, while Tosca watches every movement, fearing that Cavaradossi will make any movement out of impatience. As the soldiers leave, Tosca discovers the bitter truth: Mario is indeed dead.
The murder of Scarpia is discovered. Police officers Sharrone and Spoletta try to arrest Tosca. Shouting “Scarpia, may God judge us!” Floria dies.
The leading soloists of the St. Petersburg Opera present a concert of opera arias performed to the accompaniment of harp and fantasies on themes from famous operas.
The famous opera by Puccini is interpreted as a story about the tragic contradiction between the dream and the prose of existence.