Giacomo Puccini’s opera Tosca is based on the drama of the same name by Victorien Sardou. The composer saw its production in Milan, was immediately carried away by the plot and asked his publisher Giulio Ricordi to obtain the author’s consent to use the work as the basis for the libretto. At the same time, Sardou’s play was considered as a possible opera plot by two more famous Italian composers – Giuseppe Verdi and Alberto Franchetti. Thanks to the efforts of Ricordi, the right to create the opera went to Puccini. In 1900, the premiere took place at the Teatro Constanzi in Rome.
The uniqueness of the opera lies in its close connection to historical events. The love drama unfolds against the backdrop of the liberation struggle of supporters of the Roman Republic against the troops of the Kingdom of Naples that occupied the city. The real episode mentioned in the opera is the Battle of Marengo, in which Napoleon’s troops defeated the Austrians and their allies.
Sardou wrote the role of Tosca with Sarah Bernhardt in mind, and the tradition of performing the title role by extraordinary singers transferred to the opera stage. Production by Lyudmila Naletova, running on the stage of the Musical Theater named after. K.S. Stanislavsky and Vl.I. Nemirovich-Danchenko, is centered around the three main characters of the opera – the singer Floria Tosca, the artist Mario Cavaradossi and the head of the secret police of Rome, Baron Scarpia. These roles are performed by leading soloists of the theater’s opera troupe.