“Ecco un artista!…” – shouts Tosca with theatrical triumph, as she watches what she believes is a simulated execution. The inspiration for the sanguine and passionate female character – just as for Richard Strauss' Salome – in the case of both dramatist Victorien Sardou and later Puccini, was the turn of the century French actress Sarah Bernhardt. The diva played divas on the stage where their brash and eccentric personalities lead ultimately to a tragic end. The Rome premiere of Tosca occurred precisely at the turn of the century, on January 14th 1900. the same year that Freud published his book “The Interpretation of Dreams.” Tosca is a text book female figure for the era, and it is not hard to locate in her the assertions of Freud and his thoughts on female hysteria. These are in full agreement with the colours and moods of the opera, which frequently take on a pathological hue. The choice of the Napoleonic wars for the political background, with their atmosphere of barbarism, executions and suicide, add to the opera's air of authenticity.

The score of Tosca reveals the most typical vision of Puccini the composer, with its symphonic fragments blossoming from a single harmonic kernel and its film like melodies. The music of the opera and particularly the second act can best be compared to Berlioz's genre of the dramatic symphony. Discounting a few set pieces (which have become great popular classics) the material creates the musical texture for a hugely flexible variety of melodramatic declamation. The chorus tableaux, the Te Deum, the devil in the church etc. fill the role of catalysts in pumping up the personal drama in the foreground.

The music dramas motifs progressing through the action increasingly appear in an astonishingly consistent direction: the strange and bizarre spiritual affinity between Tosca and Scarpia, the two main characters, becomes obvious. Tosca, who became a traitor from fear and jealousy, then tries to free herself of her inner demons with the aid of the illusion of love, but so long as life is writing the final scene, there remains no exit: Tosca – in accordance with her fatal temperament – rises up, so that she can plummet to the depths. “O Scarpia, avanti a Dio!” …before God …

100 évesek vagyunk