Theatre / Tosca

Tosca is an opera by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini, based on a play by Victorien Sardou. It is often cited as an operatic version of Grand Guignol horror-melodrama, the forerunner of today's splatter movies.

On the eve of Napoleon's occupation of Rome, the painter Mario Cavaradossi hides his friend, escaped political prisoner Cesare Angelotti, from the police. Unfortunately this brings both him and his sweetheart, the singer Floria Tosca, to the attention of the villainous chief of police Scarpia. Scarpia arrests Cavaradossi and demands that Tosca spend the night with him, then the painter's execution will be fake, and the lovers will be able to leave Rome. Tosca agrees, but when Scarpia comes to embrace her, she stabs him in the heart with a knife. Unfortunately, Scarpia did not intend to release Cavaradossi at all, and the execution turns out to be real. Seeing her lover dead and Scarpia's henchmen running to get her, Tosca leaps off the parapet of the Castel Sant'Angelo, crying that she will meet Scarpia before God.

Oh, and did we mention that poor Angelotti commits suicide somewhere in the middle of the second act? This gets us 4 dead people by the end of the opera.

Yeah. Opera really is angsty business, folks.

Tropes featured include:

Tosca in other medias:

  • James Bond spies on a Quantum meeting which takes place during a representation of Tosca during the Bregenz Festival in Quantum of Solace. The representation is real, the scenes were filmed on the Seebühne (floating stage) in June 2008.
  • In the mission "Curtains down" from Hitman: Blood Money, 47 is sent to kill a great opera singer and child rapist, Alvaro D'Alvade, and his protector Richard Delahunt at the Paris Opera House, while D'Alvade is rehearsing the execution scene from Tosca. You can get the actor killed by switching the prop gun used for the scene with a real one, or mask your own shot by firing at the same time as the executioner.
  • The Agatha Christie short story Swan Song involves a soprano who really stabs the baritone during a performance of Tosca.
  • Pauline is listening to "E lucevan le stelle" in Heavenly Creatures when told she can't see Juliet anymore until her grades and attitude improve.
  • Gunslinger Girl. One of the missions takes place during a showing of Tosca, and we see just about every important scene at least in part. Claes has apparently memorized Tosca's whole cry to God speech/aria, which seems somehow appropriate.