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Puccini’s masterpiece, the first Italian opera of the twentieth century, in the celebrated settings of Jean-Louis Grinda
Teatro Regio, Thursday, 13th March 2014 at 20:00
The Puccini’s festival continues within the opera season at the Regio. After Madama Butterfly and Turandot, the other great heroine created by Giacomo Puccini, Tosca is now on. The settings by Jean-Louis Grinda, which were applauded and praised by critics and audiences during the tour in Japan last December, returns to the stage of the Teatro Regio in Turin on 13th (at 20:00), 16th (at 15:00) and 18th March (at 15:00). This bold, but at the same time co-linear settings, was co-produced with the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía from Valencia, the Opéra de Monte-Carlo and the Puccini Festival Foundation. Isabelle Partiot-Pieri directs the scenes; the neoclassical inspired costumes are by Christian Gasc and lights by Andrea Anfossi. Renato Palumbo is directing the Orchestra of the Teatro Regio. Palumbo is an expert of the Italian opera repertoire as well as a welcome guest of the theatre, which has already seen him directing Un ballo in maschera, Andrea Chénier e La bohème. The role of Tosca (initially assigned to Adrianne Pieczonka that due to an illness may not participate in that representations) will be played by the Neapolitan soprano Anna Pirozzi, acclaimed for her interpretations of the Italian operatic repertoire, and recently at Salzburg Festival. Marco Berti, the tenor from Como, is the painter Cavaradossi. He is a singer with a distinct musicality and who has absolute mastery on stage; Marco Vratogna an expert baritone in the realism operas, plays the character of Scarpia a sort of “Puccini’s Iago”. Completing the company is the bass Gabriele Sagona (Angelotti), the baritone Marco Camastra (il sagrestano), the tenor Luca Casalin (Spoletta), the baritone Ryan Milstead (Sciarrone ), the baritone Marco Sportelli (un carceriere), and the white voice of Anita Maiocco(un pastorello). The Master of the Chorus of the Teatro Regio and of the Children's Choir of the Teatro Regio and of the “Conservatorio G.Verdi” is Claudio Fenoglio. This edition of Tosca is supported by Banca Fideuram, our supporting partner, and Italgas, founder of the Theatre.
While working on the libretto of Tosca, Giuseppe Giacosa, who was at the time working alongside with Luigi Illica wrote as part of a letter to the publisher Giulio Ricordi: “I am deeply convinced that Tosca is not a good topic for a melodrama.” The writer saw in Victorien Sardou’s drama, premiered in Paris in 1887, too much action and little room for lyrical and contemplative episodes, typical of the late nineteenth-century melodrama, yet Puccini had the opposite opinion and saw in the agility of the story its strongest point. The composer had no familiarity with the language it was written in, but had an almost unerring instinct for the theatre. Therefore, after seeing Sarah Bernhardt on the stage of the Filodrammatici in 1889 in Milan interpreting Floria Tosca, he sensed the strength of this dramatic love story, of hatred and blackmail, despite not having understood the meaning of every word. Even though they worked hard to finish the score, the audience present at the first performance of the opera (Teatro Costanzi in Rome on 14th January 1900) regretted the moments of poetic lyricism of the earlier operas, but soon Tosca established itself both at the Italian theatres and in the world, proving the intuition of its creator.
In Tosca there are scenes of great impact that counterbalance the other realistic inspiration, such as the spectacular suicide of the protagonist or the song of the shepherd, but these are not the aspects of the opera that have attracted the admiration of composers such as Maurice Ravel, Arnold Schönberg and Alban Berg. These composers praised the strong harmonic colours, the violence and the pulsating eroticism, along with certain stylistic choices, anything but popular, characteristics that have made this opera - as explained by Fedele D'Amico - “a forerunner of the expressionist opera.” Jean-Louis Grinda, in turn, intends to underline two aspects of enormous importance for Puccini: the internal cohesion and the agility of the action. “My proposal is to imagine that Tosca will relive her whole day as a flashback which eventually holds her during the fall. By doing it, the audience is immediately immersed in the drama: we know how it will end but the effect of the final surprise is even bigger and makes a spectacular directorial approach, respectful of the book yet surprising. The public lives and sees the show through the eyes of Tosca herself.”
Tosca is set in 1800. Angelotti, a former Consul of the Republic escaped from prison and took refuge at the family chapel, where he met the painter Cavaradossi a friend of his who helps him escape. Tosca, the artist’s lover, arrives: the woman becomes suspicious of the attitude of her beloved one, who manages to calm her down. The news of Napoleon's defeat at Marengo is widespread and a Te Deum is prepared. Tosca attends the ceremony as well as the police chief Scarpia who is following the footsteps of Angelotti. Scarpia artfully arouses jealousy in the singer, who rushes in search of her beloved, but she was followed by the police. This is a successful tactic leading to the Cavaradossi being captured and taken to the Palazzo Farnese, where he was tortured to reveal the hiding place of his friend Angelotti. Tosca intervenes to rescue her lover revealing his hiding place, but Cavaradossi has already been sentenced to death. The singer promises to give herself to Scarpia in exchange for the life of the lover: the police chief agrees and apparently gives the order of a mock execution, but when he tried to embrace Tosca, she stabs him. At dawn, on the ramparts of Castel Sant'Angelo, Tosca meets Cavaradossi to help him prepare to face his mock execution. However, what Tosca held in her arms was not a man with a heart beating with love, it was a corpse instead. Meanwhile the soldiers discovered the corpse of Scarpia, however, when they try to stop the young assassin, Tosca throws herself from the battlements of the castle.
Rai-Radio3 will broadcast the opera “premier” live on Thursday, 13th March at 20:00. As usual, you can follow the backstage and discover entertaining curiosity about interpreters and fittings, looking at the Sketch of Passion by Paola Giunti on the site of the Regio on www.teatroregio.torino.it and on our channel: YouTube.com / TeatroRegioTorino.
Tickets for the three performances have already been sold out; however, one hour before the show, there will be 30 tickets on sale. Teatro Regio, Piazza Castello 215 - Tel 011.8815.241/242 - firstname.lastname@example.org - Info: tel.011.8815.557. Follow the Teatro Regio on our social media:
Torino, 11th March, 2014
Teatro Regio, Direzione Comunicazione e Pubbliche Relazioni
Paola Giunti (Direttore), Paolo Cascio (Relazioni con la Stampa)
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