Director: Benoit Jacquot
Country: Italy, France, UK, Germany
Year of Production: 2001
Official Selection Venice Film Festival, Benoît Jacquot’s acclaimed 2002 film of Puccini’s opera stars Angela Gheorghiu in the title role with Roberto Alagna, Ruggero Raimondi and the Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, under Sir Antonio Pappano.
Acte I - The painter Mario Cavaradossi, who is working in Sant'Andrea della Valle Church, helps a political prisoner who has taken refuge there. He conceals the fact to Tosca a famous prima donna and his jealous mistress, who has come to meet him. Then he takes the prisoner to his villa just before the arrival of the head-policeman Scarpia. The latter, suspicious about Mario, makes Tosca believe that her lover is unfaithful, and Tosca is followed when she rushes to Mario's villa.
Acte II - Scarpia has dinner at Palazzo Farnese, where there is a celebration in which Tosca sings. Spoletta, Scarpia's right-hand man, arrives with Mario who has been arrested. The latter is tortured. Tosca, summoned by Scarpia, can't stand the torturing and reveals where the fugitive is hidden. Mario has deserved the death sentence, but Scarpia promises Tosca his life will be spared (his execution will only be simulated) provided she gives herself to him. Tosca pretends to consent but, when Scarpia comes near her, she stabs him.
Acte III - At down, Mario is waiting for his execution on the terrace-roof of Castel Sant'Angelo. Tosca arrives and tells him she killed Scarpia. His execution will be shammed, but he'll have to simulate death as best he can. The firing squad arrives and shoots at him, Mario falls down, the squad withdraws. Tosca runs to her lover: she realizes in horror he has been actually shot death! Spoletta comes up to arrest her, and Tosca hurls herself into empty space.
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"powerful and gripping... this is a classic of the future"
"really stimulating... another perfect mixture of musicality and theatrical instinct"
"Gheorghiu gives a performance that cuts to the core of Puccini's tragedy... Pappano's conducting; a rich reading that conjures the ideal mixture of syrup and bitterness"
"Angela is the equal of any dramatic soprano of the last 50 years"
"[Gheorghiu] is a very complete Tosca and intelligently capable of bringing her own perceptions to the role... superb"
"gripping and very well sung"
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