Giuseppe Giacosa, Luigi Illica
Conductor: Tomáš Brauner, Martin Leginus, Michael Guettler
Stage director: Martin Otava
Sets: Josef Svoboda
Costumes: Josef Jelínek
Chorus master: Adolf Melichar
State Opera Orchestra
State Opera Chorus
Kühn Children’s Choir
Premiere: June 7, 1999
Giacomo Puccini had been intrigued by Victorien Sardou’s drama La Tosca ever since 1889, when in Milan he saw a performance featuring the celebrated actress Sarah Bernhardt. Yet the complicated negotiations between his publisher Giulio Ricordi and Sardou, as well as his working on the operas Manon Lescaut and La bohème, delayed his composing Tosca, which he would only complete in 1899. The world premiere took place at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome on 14 January 1900 and was a huge success, even though Gustav Mahler said it was a “masterful patchwork”, and Richard Strauss castigated it in even harsher terms.
Nevertheless, today the opera about the famous singer Tosca, her lover (the painter Cavaradossi) and the malicious chief of police Scarpia, set in 1800 in Italy at the time of Napoleon’s war against Austria, is one of the most popular operas worldwide. Our current production makes use of Josef Svoboda’s legendary sets dating from the period of the Fifth of May Grand Opera (today the Estates Theatre). A faithful copy of the 1947 sets, created by means of modern technology, has contributed to the production’s great popularity at the present time.
The opera is staged in Italian original version and Czech and English surtitles are used in the performance.
Photo: Jaroslav Kratochvíl, Jan Kačír, Daniel Jäger
Duration of the performance: 2 hours and 40 minutes, 2 intermissions