Tosca is undoubtedly considered the most dramatic and innovative opera by Giacomo Puccini. Since its debut, its turns of events and narrative twists have been keeping the viewer with bated breath. Thanks to a rapid and particular musical discourse, often characterised by dissonant melodies, short musical phrases constantly changing and connected one to another by a high aesthetic sense. However, Puccini makes sure to enrich this work with his typical moving melodies and in the duets between Tosca and the painter, as in the three romanze, we're captivated by the emotional musical poetics, which let us take a breath from the rapid action. Thus pleasing also a public prone to the innovative architecture of this opera, however highly refined.
Rome, 1800: An escaped political prisoner named Cesare Angelotti, hides in the church of Sant’Andrea della Valle. A sacristan enters together with the painter Mario Cavaradossi, who is working on a portrait of Mary Magdalene. The painting was inspired by the Marchesa Attavanti. Angelotti, who is a member of the former Bonapartiste government, comes out of his hiding spot and the painter, recognized him, gives him food. When the singer Tosca approaches the church, the painter urges Angelotti to hide again. The singer reminds the painter of their rendezvous that evening at his villa, but when she recognizes the Marchesa in the painting, she accuses him of being unfaithful. The painter, however, swears his love for her. A cannon signals that the police knows about the escape, and together they run to the painter’s villa. Baron Scarpia, chief of the secret police, who is looking for Angelotti meets Tosca, who has come back for the painter and he shows her a fan with the Attavanti crest. Tosca bursts into tears, vows revenge and leaves. Scarpia sends his men to follow her to Cavaradossi’s villa, where he thinks Angelotti is hiding.
Scarpia thinks about having Tosca in his power. Spoletta, a spy, arrives saying he was unable to find Angelotti but he's brought the painter. While the chief interrogates the painter, Tosca is heard singing at a royal gala in the same building. She then enters just as Cavaradossi is being taken away to be tortured. Frightened by Scarpia’s questions and Cavaradossi’s yells, Tosca reveals Angelotti’s hiding place. Cavaradossi confronts Tosca, when the officer Sciarrone arrives to announce that Napoleon has won the Battle of Marengo, a defeat for Scarpia’s side. The painter is dragged off to be executed. Scarpia suggests to Tosca that he would let Cavaradossi free if she’d give herself to him. Fighting off his advances, she calls on God but Scarpia insists. Spoletta interrupts him to announce that Angelotti has killed himself. Tosca, fearful for her lover's life, agrees to Scarpia’s proposition. So, Scarpia orders a fake execution of Cavaradossi, after which he is to be set free. Spoletta leaves. As soon as Scarpia has written a safe-conduct for the lovers, Tosca kills him with a knife. She leaves with the document.
Cavaradossi waits for the execution . He convinces the jailer to deliver a farewell letter to Tosca. When she enters, she explains to him what has happened and the two imagine their future in freedom. The firing squad arrives and Tosca tells Cavaradossi to fake his death. The soldiers fire and leave. Tosca urges Cavaradossi to hurry, but when he doesn’t move, she realizes that Scarpia has betrayed her and that the bullets were real. Spoletta wants to arrest Tosca for murder but she throws herself down the castle.