Your tears are fireTOSCA
flowing through my veins and your eyes,
which cry out your hatred to me,
and kindle my desire!
Tosca is opera. In the play written by Victorien Sardou and first performed by the dazzling Sarah Bernhardt, the world revolves around a diva. However, her jealousy and the unbridled desire of which she is the object precipitates the downfall of that world. Set against the backdrop of the hunt for republicans in Rome in 1800, Puccini pairs his drama with a most sensual and erotic score: music that would ensure the immortality of Tosca while Sardou’s play would tiptoe into oblivion.
Silvia Paoli’s childhood was peppered with the opera anecdotes that her aunt told her. Her version of Tosca could have been called Scarpia, given that the chief of the secret police is its central figure. In her eyes, he is the embodiment of pure evil, the most consummate bastard ever to grace an opera stage. Scarpia and his guard dogs. Scarpia who tortures and rapes to achieve his ends. Sadistic Scarpia the sadomasochistic hygienist who hides his inner corruption and moral decay under his maniacal gestures. Scarpia who would probably end up as king or pope if the kiss of death did not put a halt to his career. Scarpia, whose spectre hangs over the first notes of the orchestra and to whom Tosca’s last words are addressed.
The Italian director is making her French debut with this production. In her view, the terrible effectiveness of Puccini’s opera lies in its optimal use of resources, the concision of its libretto, and a score that is as sharp as a dagger. Here, she stages the raw drama, the tragedy of bodies.
The trio of love and hate in this Tosca is conveyed by a superlative cast including Salome Jicia, Rame Lahaj and Daniel Mirosław. These exceptional performers are conducted by Antonello Allemandi, who stands out as one of today's finest specialists of the Bel Canto repertoire.
Tosca, opera in three acts
First performed at Teatro Constanzi in Rome on January 14, 1900
New production Opéra national de Lorraine
Coproduction Angers-Nantes Opéra, Opéra de Rennes and Opéra de Toulon
Giuseppe Giacosa et Luigi Illica from Victorien Sardou's play
Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra national de Lorraine
Kids Choir of the Conservatoire régional du Grand Nancy
Valeria Donata Bettella