Contemporary Rome is the setting for this unique and highly innovative version of Puccini’s Tosca, performed in the Roman locations – and at the same times of day – as Puccini had written into his score. Thus the action opens in the beautiful 16th-century church of Sant’Andrea della Valle at noon, where Cavaradossi (Domingo) meets the fugitive Angelotti, moves to the Farnese Palace that evening where Tosca (Catherine Malfitano) dramatically makes a pact with the lustful Scarpia (Ruggero Raimondi), and finally to the battlements of the Castel Sant’Angelo at dawn the following day where the final drama is played out.
Antonio Pappano takes an in-depth look at one of the most famous and dramatic of all operas - Puccini's Tosca. This documentary goes behind the scenes of the recent production of Tosca by the Royal Opera House conducted by Pappano and starring some of the hottest names on the opera stage today - Angela Gheorghiu, Bryn Terfel and Jonas Kaufmann. Pappano examines the drama and musical language of Tosca and explores Puccini's creative genius in producing one of the greatest of theatrical experiences.
On 17th June, 1800, Rome is ruled by fear, that is, republicanism collapses, and shifts to royalism. Scarpia, general of the secret police, on the side of royalism continuously commits many republicans to prison. One of the republicans, Angelotti, succeeds in breaking out of prison, and rushes into the church of Sant' Andrea della Valle. In the church, he meets up with another republican, Cavaradossi. Cavaradossi harbors Angelotti in his secret hideout. After the two left the church, Scarpia who gives chase to Angelotti enters the church. Scarpia can’t find Angelotti, but meets Tosca there. She is the singer, and Cavaradossi’s lover. Scarpia tricks Tosca into going to Cavaradossi’s house, and has his subordinates follow her.
"This is certainly one of the most stunning productions in a house famous for stunning productions." (Newark Star-Ledger) "Behrens sang admirably in her own exciting style, with the bright tone and house-filling penetration that we have come to expect of this artist". (The New York Times) " Domingo's Cavaradossi is a gorgeous piece of singing". (New York magazine)
This famous production of Manon Lescaut from The Royal Opera, recorded in 1983, features two of the biggest stars in opera, Placido Domingo and Kiri Te Kanawa, in their vocal prime. Placido Domingo’s performance of Des Grieux is considered to be unsurpassed. Conductor Guiseppe Sinopoli made his British operatic debut with this production. Puccini’s first masterpiece was rapturously received on its first night. It has his hallmark sensuality and also a youthful freshness, its untamed outpouring of melody just as passionate as his more famous operas, La Boheme, Tosca and Madame Butterfly. The role of Des Grieux is one of the most taxing in the tenor repertoire and Domingo’s passionate portrayal is one of his greatest achievements.
This gripping and visually stunning film has been universally hailed as one of the most satisfying of all versions of opera on celluloid. Director Gianfranco de Bosio has given an extraordinary dimension of realism to this story of love, deception and murder by shooting it all in the original Roman location. Using diverse cinematic tricks and imaginative camerawork, this opera film is much more a visual interpretation of Puccini’s music than a theatre piece filmed in original settings.