Opera Lecture


AFTERNOON AT THE OPERA: When Tosca  was first performed at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome on January 14, 1900, one critic described it as a “shabby little shocker.” Without question, Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca is a powerful melodrama in three short acts. It epitomizes the late nineteenth-century approach to opera called “verismo,” though some critics of the original performance objected to it, finding it “sadomasochistic,” “distressing” and “distasteful.” The entire story encompasses a mere twenty-four hours and depicts the tempestuous relationship between Mario Cavaradossi, a painter, and Floria Tosca, a celebrated singer. Art, love, betrayal, torture and murder are all poured into an opera that lasts a bare two hours and contains numerous powerful arias that expose raw emotions. Bring tissues. Video excerpts will accompany this presentation by Professor James Kolb. 3 p.m. MAC