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Illica had worked with Puccini on Manon Lescaut and La bohème before Tosca, so he readily made the switch. Sardou still would not hear of letting them alter the ending, so Tosca still has no death scene but Puccini did get permission to change Cavaradossi's Act III monologue from a patriotic piece to a love song. He and Sardou met twice in Paris, during April 1898 and January 1899. Tosca was written between La bohème (1896), and Madama Butterfly (1904).

Georgina Lukács and Juan Pons in the Los Angeles Opera performance of 'Tosca'. Photo © 2008 Robert Millard
Georgina Lukács and Juan Pons in the Los Angeles Opera performance of 'Tosca'. Photo © 2008 Robert Millard

Puccini wanted this opera, with its Roman setting, to be premièred there and on 14 January 1900, it was given at that city's Teatro Costanzi. Since then, it has become one of the world's most popular operas. It is the fifth most performed work at the Metropolitan Opera and the eighth most popular work in the United States according to Opera America.

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Copyright © 15 June 2008 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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Jenna Orkin: Writer Wannabe Seeks Brush With Death - From the heights of greatness (the Juilliard School; musicians Rosalyn Tureck and Nadia Boulanger) via way-ward paths to the depths of wickedness these reminiscences will entertain and enlighten.