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Ensemble

Dramatically Exciting

Puccini's 'Tosca' at Los Angeles Opera,
reviewed by MARIA NOCKIN

 

Giacomo Puccini based his opera, Tosca, on the five act French drama La Tosca by Victorien Sardou. The play was premièred in Paris in 1887 with Sarah Bernhardt, for whom it was written, in the title role. Puccini is thought to have seen it two years later when he was in Paris working on Manon Lescaut. He mentioned it in a letter to his publisher, Giulio Ricordi. Giuseppe Verdi also had an interest in the play, but both Verdi and Puccini disliked the abrupt ending of Tosca jumping off the Castel St Angelo. As a result, neither composer readily set to work on the piece.

Gwyn Hughes Jones and Georgina Lukács in the Los Angeles Opera performance of 'Tosca'. Photo © 2008 Robert Millard
Gwyn Hughes Jones and Georgina Lukács in the Los Angeles Opera performance of 'Tosca'. Photo © 2008 Robert Millard

Although Puccini asked Ricordi to secure the Tosca rights for him in 1887, nothing came of it. Thus, in 1893, the piece was given to composer Alberto Franchetti for his next opera. In 1896 when Puccini heard that Italian librettist, Luigi Illica, was working on La Tosca for Franchetti, he asked to have the project reassigned to him. By that time, Franchetti had begun to lose interest in the piece and he thought it would be better not to have his work directly compared to that of the much more famous Puccini.

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Copyright © 15 June 2008 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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