Tosca

Darlene Marcos Shiley
Lead Production Sponsor

By Giacomo Puccini

San Diego Civic Theatre
1100 Third Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101

Saturday, March 25, 2023 at 7:30 pm

Tuesday, March 28, 2023 at 7:30 pm

Friday, March 31, 2023 at 7:30 pm

Sunday, April 2, 2023 at 2:00 pm

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Tosca is Giacomo Puccini’s gripping drama filled with torture, treachery, lust, execution and suicide.

Scarpia, the chief of police, wants only two things: to recapture the escaped prisoner Angelotti and to seduce Tosca, an opera singer of incredible voice and beauty. Tosca is in love with Cavaradossi, an artist and sympathizer of Angelotti. After arresting Cavaradossi for harboring Angelotti, Scarpia plays with Tosca’s emotions, promising to free Cavaradossi if Tosca will succumb to Scarpia’s desires. But Tosca has a plan of her own, all of which unfolds with tragic consequences from which no one can escape. Soaring and sensuous, filled with such beautiful arias as Tosca’s “Vissi d’arte”, Cavaradossi’s “Recondita armonia” and the powerful choral piece “Te Deum”, Tosca has some of opera’s most beloved music, and one of opera’s most gripping plots.

Tosca welcomes the return of soprano Michelle Bradley in the title role, and Greer Grimsley in his signature role of Scarpia. Argentinian tenor Marcelo Puente makes his San Diego Opera debut as Cavaradossi. Directed by Alan Hicks and conducted by Valerio Galli.

LANGUAGE – Sung in Italian with English text projected above the stage

RUN TIME – 2 hours and 20 minutes, including one 20-minute intermission

Pre-Opera Lecture

The pre-opera lecture begins at 6:40 pm before the 7:30 pm evening performances. The Sunday matinee pre-opera lecture begins at 1:10 pm before the 2:00 pm curtain.

Mainstage Post-Opera Talk-Back

Stay after the performance for a Talk-Back. Once the curtain falls, there will be a 10-minute break, then join us in the front of the Dress Circle section where you can ask questions of the stars and cast (subject to availability), and find out what really happened onstage and backstage during the performance!

SD Opera Safety Protocols

Meet The Cast

Michelle Bradley
Tosca

Greer Grimsley
Scarpia

Marcelo Puente
Cavaradossi

Valerio Galli
Conductor

Alan E. Hicks
Stage Director

Synopsis in English

Rome, June 14, 1800
The Battle of Marengo was fought this day in Piedmont, Italy, between 28,000 French forces led by Napoleon Bonaparte and 30,000 Austrian forces led by General Melas. Although Napoleon appeared defeated in the morning, the French overcame the Austrians in a surprise attack at night, driving them out of Italy.

Act I – The Church of Sant’ Andrea della Valle
Cesare Angelotti, an escaping political prisoner, searches for a key to open a chapel and hides there as the church’s Sacristan enters, grumbling about his work. The artist Mario Cavaradossi arrives to continue work on his portrait of Mary Magdalene, inspired by a young woman he has seen the day before in prayer. He compares the raven beauty of his love, the singer Floria Tosca, with that of the blonde Magdalene. Angelotti comes out of hiding, and as he explains his escape from the Castel Sant’Angelo, Tosca calls to Cavaradossi, who gives Angelotti food and hurries him back into the chapel. Tosca is certain she has heard Cavaradossi with another woman and jealously questions him. They set a rendezvous at his villa that evening. As the artist returns to work, Tosca suddenly recognizes the Magdalene as the Marchesa Attavanti, whom she deems must be Cavaradossi’s lover. He assures Tosca that he loves only her, and she departs. Cavaradossi realizes that Angelotti is Attavanti’s brother, and she has hidden a disguise of women’s clothing in the chapel. Cavaradossi sends Angelotti off to hide deep in the well of his garden, but upon hearing a canon signaling a prisoner has escaped from the Castel Sant’Angelo, the two flee together to the villa, mistakenly dropping a fan, part of the disguise. The Sacristan announces a celebration around the defeat of Napoleon, and in the throes of jubilation, the Baron Scarpia, Chief of Police, arrives in search of Angelotti. The Sacristan mumbles that the empty food basket in the chapel must mean that Angelotti had indeed hidden there. When Tosca returns to tell Cavaradossi that she can’t meet that evening due to her part in the evening’s celebration around Napoleon’s defeat, Scarpia shows her the fan decorated with the Attavanti crest, and muses that surely Attavanti and Cavaradossi are lovers. Tosca tearfully vows vengeance and leaves for the villa where she is sure to find the two lovers. Scarpia sends his men to follow her and ruminates on the joy of two possible conquests that evening – capturing his political enemy and taking Tosca for himself.

Act II – The Farnese Palace
Scarpia anticipates his evening’s victories. Sciarrone, an agent of Scarpia, is sent to fetch Tosca following her performance. Spoletta arrives with news that although Angelotti has not been found, he has arrested Cavaradossi, whom Scarpia interrogates. Tosca arrives just as Cavaradossi is taken off to an adjoining room to be tortured. Although she disavows any knowledge of where Angelotti might be, she is finally so overcome by Cavaradossi’s screams that she reveals the hiding place. When he realizes what Tosca has revealed, Cavaradossi is outraged. Sciarrone rushes in to announce that Napoleon has in fact won the Battle of Marengo, a defeat for Scarpia but joyful news for Cavaradossi. He is taken off to the Castel Sant’Angelo to be hanged at sunrise. Scarpia suggests Tosca yield herself to him in exchange for her lover’s life. Fighting off his advances, she protests her fate to God, having dedicated her life to art and love. Spoletta tells Scarpia that the gallows is built, forcing Tosca to give in to Scarpia or see her lover killed. Scarpia changes his orders from death by hanging to a mock execution by firing squad, after which Cavaradossi will be freed. Scarpia writes a safe-conduct out of Rome for the lovers. As he rushes victoriously toward Tosca, she kills him. Wrenching the safe conduct document from his fingers, she slips from the room.

Act III – The Roof of Castel Sant’ Angelo
Awaiting execution, Cavaradossi bribes the jailer to take a farewell note to Tosca. Writing it, he is overcome with memories of an evening of love, and gives way to despair. Tosca rushes in to tell him of Scarpia’s death by her hands. She explains the mock execution and exhorts him to fake his death well. The lovers revel in their upcoming triumph. The firing squad carries out its orders and fire upon Cavaradossi, who falls convincingly. Tosca begs him to remain silent and still until the squad has departed, then urges him to rise and escape. When he fails to move, she discovers that Scarpia’s treachery has reached from beyond the grave: the bullets were real. Calling out that she and Scarpia will meet before God, Tosca leaps to her death.

Sinopsis en Español

Roma, junio 14, 1800
La batalla de Marengo se peleó este día en Piedmont, Italia, entre 28,000 fuerzas francesas comandadas por Napoleón Bonaparte y 30,000 fuerzas austriacas comandadas por el General Melas. Aunque parecía que Napoleón había sido vencido en la mañana, los franceses vencieron a los austriacos en un ataque sorpresivo por la noche, expulsándolos de Italia.

Primer Acto – La Iglesia de Santa Andrea de la Valle
Cesare Angelotti, un prisionero político que se escapo, busca la llave para abrir la capilla y se esconde ahí mientras el Sacristán de la iglesia entra quejándose de su trabajo. El artista Mario Cavaradossi llega a continuar trabajando en el retrato de María Magdalena, inspirado por una joven mujer que ha visto rezando el día anterior. El compara la extraordinaria belleza de su amada, la cantante Floria Tosca, con la de rubia Magdalena. Angelotti sale de su escondite, y mientras le explica como escapo del Castel Sant’ Angelo, Tosca llega a visitar a Cavaradossi, quien le da comida a Angelotti y lo apura a que regrese a la capilla. Tosca está segura que ha escuchado a Cavaradossi con otra mujer y lo cuestiona celosamente. Se ponen de acuerdo para verse en su residencia esa noche. En tanto el artista regresa a trabajar, Tosca reconoce en la Magdalena a la Marquesa Attavanti, a quien ella se imagina que debe ser la amante de Cavaradossi. El le asegura que solamente la ama a ella y ella se va. Cavaradossi se da cuenta que Angelotti es el hermano de Attavanti, y ella ha escondido un disfraz de mujer en la capilla. Cavaradossi envía a Angelotti a que se esconda en lo profundo del pozo de su jardín, pero al escuchar el sonido del cañon anunciando que un prisionero se ha escapado del Castel Sant’ Angelo, huyen juntos a la residencia y por error se les cae un abanico el cual es parte del disfraz. El Sacristán anuncia una celebración por la derrota de Napoleón y en medio del jubilo el Baron Scarpia, Jefe de la Policía, llega buscando a Angelotti. El Sacristán balbucea que la canasta vacía en la capilla debe significar que Angelotti había ciertamente estado ahí. Cuando Tosca regresa para decirle a Cavaradossi que no lo puede ver esa noche debido a su participación esa misma noche en la celebración de la derrota de Napoleón, Scarpia le enseña el abanico decorado con el escudo de armas de la familia Attavanti y considera que seguramente Cavaradossi y Attavanti son amantes. Tosca llorando jura vengarse y sale rumbo a la residencia donde está segura de encontrar a los dos amantes. Scarpia envía a sus hombres a seguirla y piensa en el gozo de dos posibles conquistas esa noche – capturar a su enemigo político y quedarse con Tosca.

Segundo Acto – El Palacio Farnese
Scarpia tiene previsto sus victorias de esa noche, a Sciarrone, un agente de Scarpia lo envía a que traiga a Tosca después de que termine su presentación. Spoletta llega con noticias de que a pesar de que Angelotti no ha sido encontrado, ha arrestado a Cavaradossi, a quien interroga Scarpia. Tosca llega justo cuando a Cavaradossi lo están llevando a un cuarto contiguo para ser torturado. A pesar de que ella niega tener algún conocimiento acerca del paradero de Angelotti, finalmente se siente tan abrumada por los gritos de Cavaradossi qué les revela el lugar donde se esconde. Cuando se da cuenta lo qué Tosca ha revelado, Cavaradossi se pone furioso. Sciarrone se apresura a anunciar que Napoleon ha ganada en realidad la Batalla de Marengo, una derrota para Scarpia pero agradables noticias para Cavaradossi. Lo llevan al Castel Sant’Angelo para ser ahorcado al amanecer. Scarpia le sugiere a Tosca que ceda a sus deseos a cambio de la vida de su amante. Rechazando sus avances, ella le reprocha a Dios su suerte, después de que ha dedicado su vida al arte y al amor. Spoletta le dice a Scarpia que el patíbulo está edificado, forzando a Tosca a que ceda a los avances de Scarpia o que observe como matan a su amante. Scarpia cambia sus órdenes y pide no ejecutarlo en la ahorca sino llevar a cabo una ejecución ficticia frente a un pelotón de fusilamiento, después de la cual Cavaradossi será liberado. Scarpia redacta un documento de salvoconducto para que los dos amantes salgan de Roma. Mientras se lanza victorioso hacia Tosca, ella lo mata. Arrancando el salvoconducto de sus dedos, se escabulle fuera del cuarto.

Tercer Acto – El Tejado del Caste Sant’ Angelo
Esperando su ejecución, Cavaradossi soborna al guardián para que le lleve una carta de despedida a Tosca. Mientras la escribe, se ve abatido por recuerdos de una tarde de amor, y lo domina la desesperación. Tosca llega corriendo para decirle que ha matado a Scarpia. Le explica el simulacro de la ejecución y lo exhorta a que finja su muerte lo mejor que pueda. Los amantes disfrutan su inminente triunfo. El pelotón de fusilamiento lleva a cabo sus órdenes y dispara contra Cavaradossi, quien cae convincentemente. Tosca le ruega que permanezca callado y quieto hasta que el pelotón se haya retirado, entonces le pide que se levante y escape. Cuando no logra moverse, ella descubre que la traición de Scarpia ha llegado más allá de la tumba: las balas eran reales. Exclamando que ella y Scarpia se volverán a encontrar frente a Dios. Tosca salta y muere.

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