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you are in > Opera > Tosca


Giacomo Puccini


Saturday      May 22, 2021      7:00 PM
Tuesday May 25, 2021 7:30 PM
Friday May 28, 2021 7:30 PM
Monday May 31, 2021 7:30 PM


Performances canceled

Sponsored by


  Floria Tosca Ainhoa Arteta  
  Mario Cavaradossi Teodor Ilincai  
  Barón Scarpia Roberto Frontali  
  Cessare Angelotti Alejandro López  
  Sacristán Fernando Latorre  
  Spoletta Mikeldi Atxalandabaso  
  Sciarrone Jose Manuel Díaz  
    Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonikoa  
    Coro de Ópera de Bilbao  
  Music director Yves Abel  
  Scene director Mario Pontiggia  
  Scenography and costumes
Francesco Zito  
  Lightning Bruno Ciulli  
  Chorus director Boris Dujin  
  Production Teatro Massimo di Palermo  
  *Debuting at ABAO Bilbao Opera    


"Tre sbirri, una carroza" Falk Struckmann, Vincenç Esteve, COB & children′s choir
"Vissi d′arte" Violeta Urmana
"E lucevan le stelle" Massimo Giordano



Angelotti, a political prisoner who has just escaped from the prison of Castel Sant’Angelo, runs into the church of Sant’Andrea della Valle. He looks for a key and uses it to open a private chapel, in which he hides. The sacristan keeps rushing back and forth and the painter Mario Cavaradossi continues working on a painting representing Mary Magdalene. He has used a fair-haired woman who has been frequenting the church as a model. Even though he admires her fair beauty, he prefers the dark-haired charm of his beloved, the famous singer Floria Tosca. When the sacristan leaves, Angelotti comes out of his hiding place and Cavaradossi recognizes him immediately as a companion of revolutionary ideas. Tosca’s voice is heard calling Cavaradossi and he advises Angelotti to hide again, and gives him a basket with food that the sacristan had left for him. Tosca hears him talk and suspects he has been courting a woman. He reassures her and they both look forward to the moment when they will be able to meet at the painter’s villa after the concert she will give that night. The singer is about to leave when she sees the painting, which makes her jealous again, above all, when she recognizes that the model has been the Marchesa Attavanti. Cavaradossi assures her that he does not know the woman, but has seen her in the church. She leaves, advising him to paint his Mary Magdalene with black eyes. Angelotti, who comes out of the chapel again, reveals that the Marchesa Attavanti is his sister and her presence in the church was partly due to the fact that she had brought him women’s clothing to prevent his being recognized in his escape and had hidden them in the family chapel. Cavaradossi offers him refuge in his villa on the outskirts of the city, but before he can leave, a cannon signals that his escape has been discovered. Cavaradossi accompanies him and they both leave the church.


The sacristan, who has just heard the news of Napoleon’s defeat at Marengo, asks the choirboys to get ready to sing a celebratory Te Deum. Their noisy celebration is interrupted by the arrival of Scarpia, the chief of police, with some of his officers. A search confirms his suspicions that Angelotti had hidden in the church, one of the clues being a fan dropped by Angelotti. Tosca, who has returned to tell her beloved that she would be late that night because she has to sing a cantata to celebrate the victory, is baffled to see that Cavaradossi has gone. Scarpia, who has been watching Tosca with lustful eyes for some time, suspects that the painter has helped Angelotti to escape and uses Tosca’s jealousy in the hope that it will lead him to Angelotti. He shows her the fan, arguing that he has found it near the painter’s scaffolding, which would imply an abruptly interrupted encounter.


After recognizing the Attavanti coat of arms on the fan, she is convinced that Cavaradossi has been unfaithful and goes to the villa to find the supposed lovers. Scarpia orders his officers to follow her and congratulates himself on the immediate success of his plans while the music of the Te Deum can be heard.


The second act takes us to Scarpia’s private room in Villa Farnese that night. The chief of police is having dinner while he waits for his officers to arrive with news of Angelotti. He sends a note inviting Tosca to visit him after the celebratory cantata. He is enraged when his officer Spoletta tells him that they have found no trace of Angelotti, but rejoices when he is informed that Cavaradossi has been arrested due to his suspicious behaviour. The painter challenges Scarpia and denies knowing anything about Angelotti. Scarpia then orders his questioning using whatever means may be necessary, including torture. His ploy to deceive Tosca into revealing Angelotti’s whereabouts fails, but she is unable to stand Cavaradossi’s cries of pain while he is being tortured in the adjoining room. She eventually breaks down and reveals Angelotti’s hiding place in the well in the garden of the painter’s villa.


Cavaradossi, furious, curses her for her weakness. When news arrives that it is Napoleon who has come out victorious and not defeated at the battle of Marengo, he elatedly gloats over Scarpia, who orders his immediate execution. At first, Scarpia turns a deaf ear to Tosca’s pleading for them not to kill her beloved, but finally reveals that the price to save Cavaradossi’s life is that Tosca give herself to him. Desperate, in view of the impossibility to find another solution and despite the repulsion he produces in her, which makes her even more desirable in Scarpia’s eyes, she accepts the deal. In Tosca’s presence, Scarpia gives the order to carry out a mock execution, although he expresses himself in such a way that Spoletta, but not Tosca, understands perfectly well that the execution will be real. She demands a safe-conduct for her and Cavaradossi to leave Rome forever. While he is writing it, she sees a knife on the table and, when Scarpia approaches her to embrace her, Tosca stabs him in his chest and kills him. She places a candle on either side of the body lying on the floor as well as a crucifix on his chest.


The third act starts shortly before dawn that same night. A shepherd boy sings in the distance and the church bells of Rome ring for matins. On the platform of Castel Sant’Angelo, Cavaradossi is trying to write a last letter to Tosca, but he is soon overwhelmed by memories of their past happiness. Tosca rushes in with the safe-conduct and confesses to him that she has killed Scarpia. She informs him about the execution, which she thinks is a ruse, and instructs him on how he has to fall and wait until the soldiers have left before getting up. However, the execution is real and when Tosca sees that Mario does not move, she realizes that he is dead. Angry yelling, increasingly closer, indicates that Scarpia’s death has been discovered and Spoletta chases Tosca, the murderer, with a group of soldiers to prevent her escaping. However, before they reach her, she flings herself into the void from the top of Castel Sant’Angelo.