Tosca and Come to the Cabaret

Fifth Annual Lunenburg Summer Opera Festival
June 2009 –

Come to the Cabaret
by Giocomo Puccini


Friday June 19, 7:30 pm
Pearl Theatre, Lunenburg

Marion Sawatski
Nina Scott-Stoddart
GaRRy Williams

with Halifax accompanist Gwen Dawson

An eclectic evening of English, German and French cabaret and musical theatre with three talented performers.  Music from Cabaret, My Fair Lady, the Fantasticks and Sweeney Todd as well as favourites by Kurt Weill, George Gershwin and Cole Porter.  Don’t miss this!

Friday June 12, Th’YARC, Yarmouth, 7:30 pm
Sunday June 14, King’s Theatre, Annapolis Royal, 8 pm
Thursday June 18, Osprey Arts Centre, Shelburne, 8 pm

Saturday June 20, Pearl Theatre, Lunenburg, 7:30 pm

Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa
Based on the play La Tosca by Victorien Sardou
First performed at the Teatro Costanzi, Rome, Italy, January14, 1900
Sung in Italian with projected English translation

Music Director:  Kate Carver
Chorus Conductor:  Diane Oxner MacDonald
Chorus Repetiteur:  James Aulenbach

Tosca — Cheryl Hickman
Cavaradossi — Lenard Whiting
Scarpia — Andrew Tees
Angelotti — Robert Milne
Sacristan/Jailer — Ross Darlington
Spoletta — Owen McCausland
Sciaronne — Josh Whelan
Shepherd Boy — Eva Ernst

ACT I — The Church of Sant’Andrea della Valle.

An artist has been at work and his brushes and equipment are scattered about. Angelotti dashes in, out of breath and fearful, having just escaped from the Castel Sant’Angelo. He had been a consul with the short-lived Roman Republic but was made a political prisoner when the control of Rome returned to the Kingdom of Naples. He finds the key to one of the chapels which his sister has left for him and hides as he hears someone approaching. It is the Sacristan, surprised at finding an untouched lunch basket but no painter. As the sacristan kneels to say the Angelus, the artist, Mario Cavaradossi, enters. The Sacristan gazes at the painting and recognizes in the Mary Magdalene of the painting, a lady he has seen praying the church. Mario confesses he used the stranger as a model. He compares her blond, blue-eyed beauty with that of his dark-haired love, the famous singer, Floria Tosca (Recondita armonia — Hidden harmony).

After reminding Cavaradossi to lock up, the Sacristan leaves. Angelotti reappears and is delighted to recognize the painter as an old friend. WhenTosca is heard calling through the locked door, Cavaradossi gives Angelotti the basket of food, and he hides once more. Mario admits Tosca. Suspicious because the door was locked and she heard voices, Tosca thinks that there must have been another woman with the painter. When he tries to kiss her, she insists upon laying flowers before a statue of the Madonna and saying a prayer first. When a preoccupied Cavaradossi does not react to her plans for the evening, the annoyed Tosca describes how romantic it will be (Non la sospiri la nostra casetta?— Do you not long for our little house?). About to leave, she notices the painting, recognizes the blue-eyed model, and once more suspects Mario of betraying her. He finally convinces Tosca that he loves only her and her black eyes (Qual’ occhio al mondo — What eyes in the world). He accuses her of being jealous. Admonishing her lover to paint the Magdalene’s eyes black, the singer leaves.

The mysterious woman in the painting is actually Angelotti’s sister and, as well as the key, she has left women’s clothes and a fan for him to use as a disguise. Cavaradossi gives Angelotti the key to his own house and tells him he can hide there, in the well if necessary. When the sound of a gun is heard, announcing the escape of a prisoner has been discovered, the friends rush off together.

The Sacristan enters calling excitedly to the choir boys; there has been a report that Bonaparte has been defeated by the allies in Northern Italy, and a great celebration is being planned. The boys are overjoyed because they will be paid double for the Te Deum they are to sing at a special service.

They are interrupted by the appearance of Baron Scarpia, the chief of police, who orders his men to search the church for the escaped Angelotti. Finding the empty food basket and the embroidered fan belonging to Angelotti’s sister, they guess that the prisoner has been there. When Scarpia is told the identity of the painter, he gleefully plots to get Tosca for himself. Once more we hear Tosca calling for her Mario. Scarpia shows her the fan, thus confirming her former suspicions. As people arrive for the service of thanksgiving, Tosca laments her lover’s supposed unfaithfulness, and Scarpia feigns pity. When the jealous singer runs off to find Mario, Scarpia instructs his henchman, Spoletta, to follow her. (During the grand religious procession, we hear victory cannon shots, imitated by drums.) Scarpia gloats “Va, Tosca” (Go, Tosca), and cries, “Tosca, mi fai dimenticare Iddio!” (Tosca, you make me forget God!)”

ACT II — That evening, Scarpia’s quarters in the Palazzo Farnese.

Elsewhere in the palace the Queen of Naples is giving the reception at which Tosca is singing. As he eats a sumptuous meal, Scarpia thinks of his hoped-for capture of Cavaradossi and Angelotti, thus leaving Tosca free for him. (Ha più forte sapore — [The violent conquest] has a stronger flavor). Spoletta arrives; he has captured Mario but cannot find Angelotti. From offstage we hear the sounds of the celebratory cantata and Tosca’s voice. Cavaradossi is brought in and questioned but he denies any knowledge of the escaped prisoner.

Tosca enters. Mario embraces her, whispering that she should say nothing about what she saw at his house. Scarpia orders the artist to be tortured until he reveals Angelotti’s hiding place. On being questioned, Tosca denies knowing anything at first, but upset at hearing Mario’s groans under torture, she gives in. She reveals that they can find Angelotti in the well in Mario’s garden. Scarpia sends Spoletta to find the escapee. When a bleeding and faint Cavaradossi is brought in, Tosca lies, telling him she has said nothing. Suddenly news is brought that Napoleon has defeated the Allies at the battle of Marengo after all, a blow for Scarpia’s side. Cavaradossi’s strength returns and he exults in the victory (Vittoria!). In spite of Tosca’s pleas, Scarpia orders Mario executed for his defiance.

Left alone with the police chief, Tosca demands the price of Mario’s freedom. Scarpia does not want money — he wants Tosca, otherwise Mario will die. When news is brought that Angelotti had killed himself before the police reached him, Tosca finally relents. Scarpia instructs Spoletta to change Cavaradossi’s sentence from hanging to shooting, “as we did with Palmieri”, making Tosca think that he means to fake the execution. Tosca asks if she can take the news to the painter herself and asks for a safe-conduct to leave Rome. As Scarpia writes, Tosca spies a knife on the table and hides it behind her. He tries to embrace her, but she stabs him crying, “Questo è il bacio di Tosca!” (This is Tosca’s kiss!). Scarpia dies, and she takes the safe-conduct from his hand exulting, “E avanti a lui tremava tutta Roma!” (And before him all Rome trembled). Tosca lights two candles, places one on either side of the body, lays a crucifix on Scarpia’s chest and leaves.

ACT III — An upper courtyard at the Castel Sant’Angelo.

It is near dawn. A shepherd boy is heard singing a sad love song. Cavaradossi is led to a cell and asks for paper to write a last letter. He starts to write but is overcome by his memories (E lucevan le stelle — And the stars shown). Tosca is brought in, shows Mario the safe-conduct, and describes the murder of Scarpia. Cavaradossi wonders that such a gentle creature could perform such a terrible deed (O dolci mani — Oh soft hands). Tosca explains the execution plan and instructs him on how to ‘die’ . In a passionate duet, they sing of their future together.

The firing squad arrives, performs the ‘fake’ execution, and departs. However, Scarpia has had his revenge from the grave. The bullets were real. Just as Tosca realizes Mario is dead, voices are heard shouting the news of Scarpia’s murder. Men rush onto the stage but, before they can apprehend her, Tosca jumps from the parapet exclaiming, “O Scarpia, avanti a Dio!” (Oh Scarpia, [we will meet] before God).