Tosca

Gianandrea Noseda directs an outstanding cast

Teatro Regio, Tuesday, 10th January 2012 at 20:00

After the great performance in Fidelio, Gianandrea Noseda is back on the podium of the Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Regio to direct Puccini's Tosca, staged as from Tuesday, 10th January, 2012 at 20:00 for a total of eleven performances, until Sunday 22nd of January.

Noseda, the orchestra director, will also conduct the future performance which will take place in Paris on the 24th January at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, continuing like this, the collaboration with the prestigious theatre where, every year, the Regio is asked to present a concert version of an opera.

The staging of the new production – created as a co-production with the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, the Opéra de Monte-Carlo and the Puccini Festival Foundation – is the work of director Jean-Louis Grinda, a production which has greatly impressed the public of the Valencia Festival of Mediterranean this summer. To complete the production, the set scenes were created by Isabelle Partiot-Pieri; the neoclassical-inspired costumes were created by Christian Gasc and the lighting designer is Robert Venturi. For the triangle of the main characters The Regio puts together an outstanding cast with Svetla Vassileva (Tosca), Marcelo Álvarez (Cavaradossi) and Lado Ataneli (Scarpia).

«I am deeply convinced that Tosca is not a good argument for a melodrama» this is part of the letter to the publisher Giulio Ricordi written by Giuseppe Giacosa while working with Luigi Illica, the libretto of Tosca for Giacomo Puccini. The writer saw in the play by Victorien Sardou, staged in Paris in 1887, too much action and little room for lyrical and contemplative episodes, typical of late nineteenth-century melodrama, but Puccini had a different point of view, seeing strength in the vivacity of the drama. The composer had no familiarity with the language but had ‘an eye’ for the stage, so to see Sarah Bernhardt on the stage of Filodrammatici in Milan in 1889 in the role of Floria Tosca, he sensed the powerful hold of this dramatic story of love, hatred and blackmail although he had not understood the meaning of each word. Giulio Ricordi will be very disappointed by the exclusion of a "Latin Hymn" (accused by Puccini as mere embellishment) at the end of the opera and other purely lyrical moments. The audience present at the first performance of the opera (at Teatro Costanzi in Rome, 14th January, 1900) regret the moments of poetic lyricism of the earlier operas, but Tosca soon became popular in the theatres both in Italy and around the world, confirming like this the insights of its creator.

The scenes, based on verisimilitude, render Tosca a very touching opera, such as the suicide of the protagonist or the song of the shepherd, but these are not the aspects of the work that have aroused the admiration of composers such as Maurice Ravel, Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg. Some elements such as the violence of contrasts, the eroticism and certain stylistic choices make this opera a rather popular work, as explained by Fedele d'Amico, a forerunner of expressionistic work. In line with this opinion Gianandrea Noseda states: «You must not indulge in easy dramatic effect or enhance the appearance of realism. I am not saying, however, that it is best to find a measure, because I am the first not to have one, but to find the right structural clarity for each piece. Besides, you can also weep keeping your eyes dry».  

Jean-Louis Grinda, stresses two points of great importance for Puccini which were: the internal cohesion and agility of the action: «My proposal is to imagine that Tosca will relive her whole day as a flashback seen as she falls. The audience is then, by this point, completely immersed in the drama: you know how it will end but the effect of final surprise is even bigger and allows a spectacular directorial approach, respectful of the book yet amazing. The viewer sees the opera through Tosca’s eyes».

The opera takes place in the year 1800; the Napoleonic campaigns have inflamed Europe spreading revolutionary ideals of social renewal, but in central Italy the Roman Republic collapses. Angelotti, former Consul of the Republic escaped from prison and took refuge at the family chapel where he met his friend, the painter Cavaradossi, who tries to help him escape.  Tosca, the artist’s lover, arrives but seeing the situation, she becomes suspicious of her lover’s attitude. He then manages to calm her down and eventually to dismiss her. Meanwhile, the news of Napoleon’s defeat reaches them and a Te Deum is prepared.  Tosca and Scarpia attend the ceremony. Scarpia is the chief of police who provokes the jealousy of the singer and when she leaves to look for her lover, he sends the police to follow her. Scarpia’s plan work and Cavaradossi is captured and taken to the Palazzo Farnese, where he is tortured to reveal the hiding place of his friend Angelotti. Tosca intervenes to rescue her lover by revealing where the fugitive is, but it is too late because Caravadossi has already been sentenced to death. The singer then promises to give herself to Scarpia in exchange for the life of the lover; the police chief pretends to give the order to a mock execution and tries to embrace the woman, but she stabs him. At dawn, on the ramparts of Castel Sant'Angelo, Tosca finds Cavaradossi and she tried to prepare him to best deal with the mock execution. Execution that had already happened and Tosca find herself embracing not the body of her lover throbbing with love, but that of a dead man. Later on, the police discover the dead body of Scarpia. When they try to arrest her, Tosca throws herself from the battlements of the castle.

An exceptional cast of international profile was chosen. In the role of Tosca, Svetla Vassileva, a Bulgarian soprano, of an elegant timbre and alluring stage presence. She is  already known to the public of Turin for her interpretations of Manon and Rusalka. In the shoes of the painter Cavaradossi, is the Argentinian tenor Marcelo Álvarez, singer fought over by most prestigious opera houses. Scarpia, a character of Jago's calibre, is played by Lado Antaneli, a baritone with huge experience in the Verdi repertoire, who returns to the Regio after the great success of Thaïs. Completing the company bass Francesco Palmieri (Angelotti), the baritone Matthew Peirone (the clerk), tenor Luca Casalin (Spool), bass Federico Longhi (Sciarrone), baritone Marco Sportelli (a jailer).

Claudio Fenoglio is the Choir Conductor of the Teatro Regio and the Choir of the Conservatory "G. Verdi".  During the eleven performances the leading roles will include María José Siri (Tosca), Riccardo Massi and Lorenzo De Caro (Cavaradossi) and Silvio Zanon (Scarpia).

The new production of Tosca is organized with the support of the Compagnia di San Paolo, co-founder of the Teatro Regio.  

Tosca will be presented to the public by Carla Moreni in the Incontro con l’Opera which will take place at the Piccolo Regio Puccini on Wednesday, 21st December at 17.30.

All performances of Tosca have been sold out however, 30 seats will be made available for sale an hour before each performance.  For more information go to our website on: www.teatroregio.torino.it or call us on 011.8815.557.

Turin, 13th December, 2011