A group of us are planning to see the Metropolitan Opera’s HD broadcast of Tosca next month. I am really excited about this! Tosca possesses in abundance the two elements critical to any great opera: high drama and gorgeous music.
Tosca features three arias that are justly famous: Recondita armonia and E lucevan le stelle, sung by Mario Cavaradossi, and Vissi d’arte, sung by Floria Tosca.
Here are the first two, sung by Placido Domingo in the role of Cavaradossi. When he made this film in 1992, Domingo was at the height of his considerable powers, as you will see:
The role of Floria Tosca will forever be linked with the fiery soprano Maria Callas. There are those who do not care for her voice, while others worship her as “La Divina.” I don’t think anyone disputes the fact that she was a terrific actress. Here she sing Vissi d’arte at Covent Garden in London. (The date is not given, but I believe this performance was filmed in 1964.)
Here is the same aria, sung by the luminous Rumanian soprano Angela Gheorgiu;
These are just some of the most famous treasures bequeathed to us by this composer:
At the front of her novel Puccini’s Ghosts, Morag Joss placed a quotation from a review (in the Daily Express, June 8, 1927) of Turandot. The performance took place at Covent Garden a scant three years after Puccini’s death.
“Covent Garden was haunted last night. It was haunted by the gentle and immaculate ghost of Puccini…who died with the final bars of Turandot still imprisoned within his brain, who disappeared to solve an enigma more terrible and profound than any created by the Princess Turandot. We like to think that Puccini revisited the glimpses of the moon last night to observe the opera’s performance in England, where his works are so universally cherished, to watch his tricksy spirits at their revels. We imagined him pleased with the magnificent production and the sensation it created.