Inside Puccini’s Powerful Thriller, “Tosca”

Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Luigi Illica and Guiseppe Giacosa
Premiered 1900 in Rome, Italy

“And before him all Rome trembled…” – Floria Tosca, Act II

ToscaA tale of passion amidst the perils of battle, this ever popular opera is set in Rome during the Napoleonic Wars. An opera diva prone to fits of jealousy, Floria Tosca, is caught in a deadly love triangle between her lover, the revolutionary painter Mario Cavaradossi, and the evil police chief Baron Scarpia. Political turmoil fuels the fire of danger; deception, scandal, and treachery ensue. This powerful thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat.


Midday on June 17 through dawn on June 18, 1800 – Rome, Italy

Act I – The church of Sant’Andrea della Valle
Act 2 – Palazzo Farnese, Scarpia’s headquaters
Act 3 – Castel Sant’Angelo


Floria Tosca – a celebrated opera and church singer from Venice, currently performing in Rome. Sincerely pious, but not political, her jealous streak runs hot

Mario Cavaradossi – a painter, born in France to an Italian father and French mother. Politically affliated with the revolutionaries (Napoleon Bonaparte)

Baron Scarpia – Rome’s chief of police, known for his brutality. Appointed a few weeks ago by Queen Maria Carolina of Naples. (The Kingdom of Naples rules Rome in June of 1800 while the new pope makes his way to the city.)

Angelotti – Political prisoner of the monarchy, aligned with Bonaparte. Recently escaped from prison and needs to get out of Rome

Sacristan – The caretaker of the church of Sant’Andrea della Valle. Disapproves of Cavaradossi’s political affiliation and lack of religious conviction

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