Wednesday, 26 June 2019

'Tosca' at the Royal Opera House

'Tosca' is my favourite opera and I've seen it three times in recent years at the Royal Opera House, the most recent viewing was the 512th performance of the opera by the Royal Opera.

It's the tale of Floria Tosca, a diva and the fiery lover of Mario Cararadossi, an artist and political radical who is arrested and tortured by the evil Baron Scarpia. We're in Rome in 1800 during the Napoleonic Wars and Scarpia tells us that he wants Tosca but not in a romantic love affair, he prefers to dominate and conquer then toss the conquered aside. With her lover arrested and tortured by Scarpia what is Tosca to do when he makes his wants known to our hero?

That is when Tosca gives us her great aria in which she sings that.

"I lived for art, I lived for love
I never harmed a living soul
With a discreet hand
I relieved all misfortunes I encountered"

Brave Tosca tells Scarpia she must save her lover so gives in to him, insisting that her lover should not be executed and that she gets safe passage to leave Rome. This she gets and, when Scarpia lays hands on her, she stabs him through the heart and kills him. Typically, Scarpia has lied and Cavaradossi is executed. Scarp's guards come for Tosca but she throws herself from the battlements of Castel Sant'Angelo to thwart them. Brave Tosca. It's a powerful, elemental tale of love and passion and power and lust.

Our Tosca was Kristine Opolais, Cavaradossi was Vittorio Grigolo and Scarpia was Bryn Terfel.

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