Parlando: The COC Blog


The Tosca Jewels

[This is a guest post by Gianmarco Segato, retail and editorial co-ordinator at the COC. Gianmarco is also the co-host of the COC Podcasts]

Maria Callas was undoubtedly one of the greatest interpreters of the role of Floria Tosca, the fiery Roman opera diva. Her 1953 recording of the opera (which can be purchased online at the Opera Shop) is considered by many to be the definitive version on record, and there is video footage of her in the role at Covent Garden in 1964.

For her first Metropolitan Opera appearance as Tosca on Nov. 15, 1956, Callas commissioned a parure, a French word for "adornment," which in the 17th century came to refer to a set of three or more matching pieces of jewelry. Callas’s set included a tiara, necklace and pair of earrings designed for her by Milan’s Atelier Marangoni using the finest Swarovski crystals. The jewels were so brilliant in fact, that for a televised performance of the opera, Callas was asked to only wear the earrings and not the overpoweringly sparkly tiara and necklace! Swarovski made stage jewels for Callas between 1947 and 1965, during which time the singer wore Swarovski crystal pieces in La Gioconda, I Puritani, La Traviata and Norma, among many other operas. The Tosca set is made of nearly 200 crystals and is worth about $85,000. Here is Callas wearing her “Tosca jewels”:


We asked Toronto jewelry designer Nancy Ciccone to use the Callas Swarovski jewels as inspiration to create her own version of the famous tiara, earrings and necklace, and here are the stunning results:



I interviewed Nancy and asked her about her stylistic inspirations for the parure, the materials she used, and the amount of time it took to make. You can listen to our chat here.

The COC’s version of the Tosca jewels will be on display (and for some lucky customer, for sale) at the Four Seasons Centre Opera Shop throughout our winter season. Other Tosca-inspired jewelry by Nancy Ciccone will also be available for purchase: you too can own your own diva-styled bling!

Posted by Gianmarco Segato / in 2011/2012 / comments (2) / permalink

Christian Desroches (1/11/2012 4:41:00 PM)
Good day M. Segato, This is a very good article about "les bijoux". I would have liked very much to listen to the interview with Nancy but the page does not open... Just wanted to let you know. Thank you for the great work that you are doing at the COC
Cecily (1/11/2012 4:53:00 PM)
Thanks, Christian. The link has been fixed.

Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001



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