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tosca

Aiax Spettacoli. Teatro Antico di Taormina.

Opera in three acts

Libretto

Joseph Giacosa

Luigi Illica

music by

Giacomo Puccini

Personages

Floria Tosca famous singer: soprano Hui He

Mario Cavaradossi, painter: tenor - Hector López Mendoza

Baron Vitellio Scarpia Chief of Police: baritone - Giulio Boschetti 

Cesare AngelottiBass - Shi Zhong 

The sacristan:Bass - Angelo Nardinocchi 

Spoletta, Police officer: tenor

Sciarrone, gendarme: Bass - Marco Pangallo 

A jailerBass - Marco Pangallo

A shepherd

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August 19, 2023
21:00
ancient theater of Taormina

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Te Deum
"Taormina Videoclip"
Riccardo Buffardeci

The Opera

 La "Tosca" is a drama of events, a clockwork lubricant of historical erudition in which there is no room to think. The long speeches are all narration and detail the events that they prepared the ones that actually happen at that moment.

"Tosca" is an opera that enchants and fascinates with its extraordinary beauty and powerful emotional intensity. Puccini's music, like a cascade of divine notes, immediately captures the audience's attention, creating an atmosphere of passion and drama that permeates every instant of the opera. The unforgettable melodies alternate between moments of poignant lyricism and flamboyant expressions of emotion, capturing the hearts and minds of the audience.

In the opera Puccini demonstrates his compositional genius, introducing innovations that have revolutionized the opera landscape. Firstly, it embraces a harmonious fusion between music and drama, creating a perfect synergy between the emotions of the characters and the notes that accompany the events. This deep connection between music and storytelling gives "Tosca" an unparalleled expressive power.

Furthermore, Puccini dared to experiment with bold and nuanced harmonies, challenging the musical conventions of his time. He embarks on a journey of musical exploration, combining traditional elements with modern touches, thus creating a soundtrack that is both familiar and surprising. The masterful use of the leitmotif, which associates a specific musical theme with a character or an idea, gives "Tosca" a thematic coherence that captures the attention and imagination of the audience.

But Puccini's innovation goes beyond music. "Tosca" is set in a historical era full of political intrigues and revolutions, providing a compelling scenario for the opera's plot. Puccini knows how to combine historical context with a personal story of love and betrayal, creating a fascinating marriage between historical reality and individual drama.

Tosca nel pozzo del giardino

A history lesson deriving from each of the main characters: Mario Cavaradossi; talented painter with liberal thoughts, born in Paris to a Roman father and French mother and pupil of the revolutionary artist Jacques-Louis David. Went to Rome to fix family  affairs related to the inheritance of his deceased father, and there retained by his love for Tosca;

Mario Cavaradossi

Cesare Angelotti: consul of the ephemeral Roman Republic in 1798 and recently escaped from Castel Sant'Angelo, where he had been imprisoned by will of Emma, Lady Hamilton, whom he "protected"by the times she was a prostitute in Vauxhall Gardens;

Shi Zhong interpreta Cesare Angelotti al teatro antico di Taormina. 19 Agosto 2023

Baron Vitellio Scarpia: Chief of police. Half bigot, half satyr, with his life at stake if he’s not able to catch the fugitive;

Giulio Boschetti interpreta il barone Scarpia. Tosca a Taormina.

Floria Tosca: Once goat shepherd on the hills around Verona, then welcomed, raised and educated by the Benedictine nuns. Cimarosa, on a visit to the convent, heard her voice in the choir and obtained the papal authorization to make her study singing, and later performing in all the  major theaters in Italy.

Floria Tosca is busy at the Teatro Argentina in Rome. Fame, however, has in no way affected her peasant simplicity. 

As Cavaradossi refers to Angelotti: “I recognise here only one flaw: a mad jealousy, which sometimes disturbs our happiness, as well as an excessive religious devotion. But love and devotion often get along with each other”.

On the stage of the Ancient Theater Rome of the 1800s will be staged in a synthetic, non-invasive form, capable of making one admire the ancient Roman beauties of the theater itself, in an alchemy between ancient and modern that can revive the magic of a walk between the ancient forum and Castel Sant'Angelo in our capital.

Te Deum, Tosca al Teatro Antico di Taormina 2016

La Tosca remains the drama of the characters. Set in an impeccable aesthetic setting, it actually speaks to viewers of extremely intimate dramas, in which the dramatic dimension is only a pretext. Art, Religion and Passion. These three powers of human creation find themselves colliding in an incurable Mexican stalemate. In each of the three protagonists they mix and cause a total reversal of the social institutions in which they are embedded.

Hui He, Tosca a Taormina 19 Agosto 2023
dott.Edoardo Porto interpreta il giudice del fisco nella Tosca al Teatro Antico di Taormina 2018 - neurochirurgo - istituto "Carlo Besta" Milano

The painter, the singer, the man of the institutions are only symbols to be demolished and turned upside down; Tosca is all of this. The pace is pressing, the absence of the prelude, the continuous escape of the protagonists, keep the viewer's breath in suspense until the final acme; interspersed only by three arias that are almost three hymns that suspend time to open the hearts of the characters to the public:  “Recondita armonia”,“Tre sbirri e una carrozza” and “Vissi d'Arte ”. 

Augusto Verdirame

Tosca Hui He
Scarpia e i gli sbirri
Mario Cavaradossi al Teatro Antico di Taormina. Tosca - 19 Agosto 2023, Aiax spettacoli, opera e balletto.

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Tosca: unstoppable force. Comment by Prof. Daniele Abate

Hui He will be Tosca for the first time at the Ancient Theater of Taormina

The composer

Giacomo Puccini

Giacomo Puccini

Anamnesis of a great love, that of Giacomo towards women

Having made himself well known with a Motet and a Credo performed at the cathedral of Lucca on the occasion of the feast of San Paolino, pieces later inserted in the "Mass for four voices with orchestra", what Giacomo lacked was that economic tranquility which would allow him to his projects, so it was once again his mother who gave him the way forward, giving him new impetus. Albina knew how to aim quite high! Thus, forwarding a petition to Queen Margherita through the intercession of the Marquise Pallavicini, she obtained for the promising composer the dispensation of a scholarship of L. 100 per month for a year. From here on, the closeness to the Royal House of Savoy was strengthened to such an extent that the Sovereign herself wanted  to attend the premiere of Tosca at the Costanzi theater on 14 January 1900 and this despite fears of a revolt ' artillery whose gesture the Mugnone, conductor, should have symbolically countered by having the Royal March performed. 

Therefore, the love that binds Giacomo to the female universe cannot be ascribed to simple chance, beyond his various sentimental ties, beyond his flirtations which caused many rumors, the Maestro expressed admiration towards women for that most courtly essence peculiar to them. Patient, courageous, passionate, the main roles are entrusted to women of all ranks, affirming a change in the compass of the status quo. Not only virtue in the strictly understood sense, sometimes even tightrope walkers, sneaky and superficial as in the case of Manon, in which, however, dwells absolute passion and the ability to give oneself without filters to the deepest emotions. It will rather be Turandot, the protagonist of his last work, who will show a different facet, a clearly more complex psychological framework, where the drama will be accused within the same subject of the Princess, incapable of experiencing joys, obsessive, relegated to living in a hidden dimension capable of obscuring. Perhaps behind this character are hidden the tragedies experienced by the author, such as that of the death of Doria (1909), his maid, who committed suicide after running away from home in shame, feeling the weight of what was accused by the very jealous wife, Elvira Puccini, or to spend time with her husband in his absence. The still sixteen-year-old Doria, unsullied according to the autopsy, certainly represented the greatest of his dramas, this time in the flesh, a realism worthy of the greatest authors where the greatest writer told him with extraneousness, _cc781905-5cde- 3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_life. 

The inner conflict, brake and artistic flywheel

Every artist is such to the extent that he observes, studies and therefore produces works of ingenuity that convey something more than what has already been seen, heard, touched. 

Artist is therefore the one who makes the past a fertile humus from which to draw new ideas  focusing them or not in a well-characterized form, but there is more, there are also those who, as in the case of Maestro Puccini, demonstrate a desire to overturn the schemes, to want to create forms whose content is innovative, totally resetting the material delivered by history so as to make it appear totally new. The last of the great opera composers was in his art what he was in life, i.e. eager for strict rules that he could break or circumvent without causing scandal, in everyday life  a freethinker obsequious to the rigid ethical and social rules of the monarchy, living at times in fear of having strayed from his origins, so much so that he wrote to his friend Arnaldo Fraccaroli: <<… in the midst of all this scenario from a thousand and one nights you see it the little organist of Lucca?>>
If we then observe this behavior in the historical dimension of the second half of the 19th century, we realize that the industrial upheaval, therefore consequently ethical and social, made the composers of the end of the 19th century restless, destabilized researchers who strongly felt the need to owe the world something totally new. Life moved largely to the cities, the bourgeoisie now strongly present, the new amazing inventions that tacitly accustomed man not to be surprised too much, imposed new ways of thinking that could no longer find concrete answers in the hackneyed schemes of the past. The composer no longer wrote in one go but meditated, demanded retreats, expressed himself and his time without submitting to external demands. This is how Puccini suffered, the inexorable detachment from his youth, getting intoxicated with bold groups and hostile jokes to the unfortunate and then withdrawing into the silence of his rooms to meditate on the world and its mutability. Today, as in the past, society and customs were changing, so if even after 1850 a serious opera consisted of about three or four main roles in which each would have had a solo, then moving on to duets and comparisons in the so-called "final concertato", and focus would have been opened on all or most of the soloists thanks to scenic and choral backgrounds, at the end of the 19th century the connotations of Italian opera were changed, changing its conception, feeling not only the need to modify schemes rather than making the thematic uniqueness of each individual work. In this Giacomo Puccini, in his continuous research (in which he will never feel totally satisfied) will experience a "different" art throughout his life, aspiring to that stroke of genius that could make him different and unique, but it will be precisely this continuous navigation on unknown waters that will not spare him strong disappointments, insecurities and therefore great difficulties in completing works already begun. Dukes and maidens (abandoned) in his narration will disappear to give voice to a shocking realism, full of a transport of great tension. The concept of the original therefore represented the cardinal objective, also bordering on a great limit to quantity in favor of quality. Several times the Maestro had to stop in the composition of his works, as if to lose faith in what he was doing, demanding from himself an in-depth study of the single psychological subject, a research which, when completed, had to then be transposed into music to best express atmospheres, moods or simply to accompany the bel canto. If Puccini's works manage to speak even today  attracting the public to themselves, it is precisely for the refinement and synergy between the aspects mentioned, both on the musical side and on the psychological, social and sociological side. The Italian technique of reminiscence, with a theme reiterated throughout the opera, and the Wagnerian technique of the leitmotif, where timbral effects and elements are linked to a character and are reaffirmed in his presence, are not so innovative elements, it is true, but the refinement of the settings and the use of a unifying effect connecting the scenes made Puccini's opera an example of masterful skill. To remedy the loss of inspiration, due to certain reflections from which  there was no way out, the Lucchese too, like so many other musicians, acted like a tailor with his own fabrics, sewing them  to close the patches, so it does not appear strange to the dear reader if for the last act of Tosca, Puccini made use of scraps discarded from his operas Edgar and Madame Butterfly, on the other hand Tosca and Cavaradossi debuting their great feeling with the long love duet they had already said a lot, so with the use of material 
adapted managed once again to amaze by making an innovative if linear scenic continuity. From his suffering in finding new ways of expression, in the drama that saw the oxymoron of his life from "little organist" to  collector of various foreign and Italian honors, the Senator (appointed as such "for clear fame" 2 months before his death on November 29, 1924 in Brussels, Belgium) shaped  his thought and transduced it into an art that became an ambassador in the world of Italian artistic flair .

Prof. Daniele Abate

Italian composer considered by music lovers to be one of the greatest opera composers of all time, he came into the world on a cold night in Lucca between 22 and 23 December 1858,  boasting several generations involved in the art on his father's side d'Euterpe, also he was his uncle on the maternal side Fortunato Magi, musician pupil of Michele Puccini. In 1864, the year in which the world shone with new light with the birth of Richard Strauss, the father passed away at the Puccini house and at the age of 51 left to earth, in addition to little Giacomo, also six daughters a son who came into the world three months after the departure. Albina, the Maestro's mother, was therefore called to personally take care of her son's education, arranging that the musical discipline be imparted to him by the aforementioned Fortunato Magi, who even if he became director of the Music Institute of Lucca, then of the School of Ferrara as well as the founder of the musical high school of La Spezia, however, was unable to see much about the qualities of the little boy who he rather defined as "falente", slacker! The severe teaching, made up of kicks to the shins and beatings, will momentarily distance Giacomo from the studio, causing him various traumas that will bore him for the rest of his life (including involuntary contractions in the legs upon hearing false notes) when, the mother taking note of how much his son was suffering, he chose to lead him to the teaching of Carlo Angeloni, also a strict guide but enough to rekindle the bold flame of art in Giacomo. At the age of 15, ilLucchese, still unaware that his name would remain in posterity, completed his humanistic studies, so to improve his family's finances he began to get busy playing now in church, without dispensing with the organ cabalette profane taken from Verdi's works, now in the city cafes,

which led him to mix  sacred and profane in one

reached dimension  at a more mature age in creations where it is 

strong,often seemingly confrontational, in need of answers and

sometimes both tragic and decisive, the cry for help and

hope of man afflicted by the human condition towards the

Divine. It will be necessary to wait until 11 August 1861 for the

theatre establishes itself as a suitable means of containing overtime

artistic-expressive needs before the eyes of the now

promising eighteen year old. From Lucca to Pisa, on foot of course,

Giacomo didn't know that shortly thereafter, he would be assisting

at the opera Verdi's Aida would have shaken, almost with maieutic

force, his real calling. He couldn't know that after

that listening would have blossomed in him the profound one

restlessness that would never leave him again, that one

typical desire of contemporary artists to seek out new languages,

breaking down conventions, affirming new genres. The art,

continuous research, suffering, expressive need, not immediately

always understood, it manifested itself as the first manifestation

master's opera 23 years later with the opera ballet

Le Villi, work in one act to a libretto by Ferdinando Fontana. 

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