• The Music of TOSCA

    By COC Staff

    The final production hitting the Four Seasons Centre stage this season, Puccini’s Tosca delivers a powerful capital-O Opera finale! Big emotions and even bigger voices sparkle in this fast-paced political thriller from one of opera’s most beloved composers.

    Last performed in 2017, this COC signature production shines with a spectacular visual design. Award-winning Scottish director Paul Curran brings sumptuous costumes and stunning sets of chapels, palaces, and fortresses to the work, complemented by fittingly atmospheric lighting. Reflecting on the show upon its premiere in 2008, Curran noted, “there are similar stories to Tosca in theatre and on film but nothing quite has the same effect as the melodic and dramatic invention of Puccini in the opera house. It never fails to amaze me.”

    Puccini created some of his most memorable music for Tosca, producing a venerable opera hit list. Arias like Cavaradossi’s “E lucevan le stelle” and Tosca’s “Vissi d’arte” have gained eternal life as some of opera’s greatest music. Amidst these major musical setpieces, Puccini structured the work as a through-composed opera—with the music unfolding in an uninterrupted stream from beginning to end. This structure emphasizes the opera’s fast-paced action taking place over the course of one single day, seamlessly leading audiences through the drama. 

    Throughout this flowering masterpiece, Puccini uses leitmotifs as musical signposts to signify certain characters or themes. Like in Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman and Strauss’ Salome, these motifs bridge important connections for the audience—such as recurring reminders of Scarpia’s power through the sinister, jagged melody associated with him. Contrasted by the bright woodwinds and high, expressive strings accompanying Tosca, Puccini uses these musical tools to build dramatic tension and reinforce the clash of wills at the heart of the story.
    With so many memorable melodies, Tosca’s unforgettable score continues to reach new audiences on and off the stage. Recognizable from countless appearances in film and television, Puccini’s masterpiece has scored many major Hollywood films like Milk, Quantum of Solace, Rocky Balboa, Serpico, and It’s a Wonderful Life, as well as countless episodes of television shows and cartoons. Below, enjoy a taste of this upcoming production with a clip from our 2022/2023 Season Preview Concert, featuring COC Ensemble Studio grad Matthew Cairns performing “E lucevan le stelle.” 

    Join us for Puccini’s Tosca, opening Friday, May 5, and running until Saturday, May 27. Tickets on sale Friday, September 2.

    Photos: Michael Cooper
    Posted in 22/23 Season


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