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By Giacomo Puccini


"A night of powerhouse singing and strong conducting..." - Los Angeles Times

How far would you go to save the one you love?

A fiery prima donna is forced to play a role she never imagined when she becomes trapped between her allegiance to her rebel lover and the scheming of a treacherous police chief who will stop at nothing in his lust for her. The explosive conflict between these three unforgettable characters comes to a hair-raising conclusion in one of opera's bloodiest, most intense dramas. Tony Award winner John Caird (Les Miserables) directs Puccini's heart pounding thriller.

May 13 - Melody Moore performs the role of Tosca, conducted by Grant Gershon. Stay after the performance and join us for After Hours.


There are currently no upcoming performances.

Tosca is a co-production of the Houston Grand Opera Association and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Approximate running time: two hours, 50 minutes, including two intermissions


Creative Team


Background: Italy has long been under the domination of the Hapsburg dynasty. Napoleon Bonaparte, however, has emerged as a threat to the status quo and Rome is in chaos, without a clear ruler. Baron Scarpia, the chief of police, has become the highest authority. Loyal to the King and Queen of Naples, Scarpia seeks to eliminate any remaining trace of Napoleon’s attempts to establish a secular Roman Republic.

Act One
The Church of Sant’Andrea delle Valle
 Cesare Angelotti, a Republican, has just escaped from the Castel Sant’Angelo where he had been imprisoned by Scarpia. Angelotti’s sister, the Marchesa Attavanti, has hidden a disguise for him in the church, where the painter Mario Cavaradossi is working on a painting of Mary Magdalene with the begrudging help of the Sacristan. Cavaradossi takes as his inspiration both the Marchesa, whom he has recently seen at prayer, and his beloved Floria Tosca, a prominent opera singer. Cavaradossi recognizes Angelotti and promises to help him escape, but is surprised by a visit from Tosca. Angelotti hides while Cavaradossi attempts a quick conversation with Tosca. She is instantly suspicious of Cavaradossi’s cautious behavior and jealous of the woman she sees represented in his painting. Cavaradossi assuages her fears and they make plans to spend the evening together. No sooner has Tosca gone than a cannon shot signals that Angelotti’s escape has been discovered. Cavaradossi and Angelotti depart immediately for Cavaradossi’s villa.

The Sacristan returns with news of Napoleon’s defeat by the Austrians. Arrangements have been made for an immediate Festival Te Deum and a concert at the Palazzo Farnese featuring Floria Tosca. Baron Scarpia, who has come in search of Angelotti, interrupts the preparations. Scarpia and his spies find an empty basket of food and a woman’s fan bearing the Attavanti family crest. When Tosca returns to see Cavaradossi, her jealousy is again aroused by his absence. Scarpia preys on her suspicions by showing her the Marchesa’s fan. When she leaves, Scarpia orders his agent Spoletta to follow her. As the congregation assembles and sings the Te Deum, Scarpia plans to eliminate Cavaradossi and possess Tosca for himself.

Act Two
Baron Scarpia’s apartment at the Palazzo Farnese
Scarpia relishes his plan to execute the traitors and seduce Tosca. When Cavaradossi is brought for questioning, the painter denies any knowledge of Angelotti’s location. At Scarpia’s request, Tosca arrives from the victory celebrations. Cavaradossi is then taken into an adjoining room and tortured. His agonized cries force Tosca to divulge Angelotti’s hiding place—the well in the garden of Cavaradossi’s villa. The tortures cease; Tosca and Cavaradossi are briefly reunited before Scarpia orders Spoletta to Angelotti’s hiding place. As Cavaradossi denounces Tosca for her betrayal, news arrives that Napoleon has, in fact, emerged victorious over the Austrians at Marengo. Cavaradossi predicts greater and greater victory for the Republicans, and Scarpia orders him taken away for execution.

When Tosca pleads for mercy, Scarpia makes his price clear: she can buy Cavaradossi’s life by giving herself to Scarpia. She agrees. Since Scarpia has already ordered Cavaradossi’s death, a mock execution must be arranged, and he seems to give this order to Spoletta. Tosca makes one further request: a warrant of safe passage so that she and Cavaradossi can leave the country. This done, Scarpia advances to embrace her, and she stabs him to death.

Act Three
The roof of the Castel Sant’Angelo
The song of a shepherd child and the sound of church bells signal the approaching dawn. Cavaradossi is brought into the castle yard to prepare for his death and his thoughts turn to Tosca. He is attempting to write a final letter to her when she appears. She shows him the warrant of safe passage, explains the mock execution and describes how she killed Scarpia. Tosca and Cavaradossi dream of their future happiness together. As the soldiers assemble for the execution, Tosca instructs Cavaradossi to feign death and remain motionless until she can confirm it is safe to leave. After the soldiers depart, she discovers she has been betrayed: Cavaradossi is dead. Spoletta and his men try to arrest Tosca for the murder of Scarpia, but she is too quick for them. Vowing to confront Scarpia before God, she takes her own life.

Synopsis by John Caird

News & Reviews





The 15/16 season may have come to an end, but the halls of LA Opera are still abuzz with staff and artists working on the upcoming 16/17 season. Auditions are being held for supernumeraries in season opener Macbeth and the show’s set is also currently being built at Studio Sereno. Preparations for other productions and events for the fall are also underway. Can’t wait? Neither can we. See what all the excitement’s about below.




Prior to every performance, LA Opera's acclaimed Music Director Maestro James Conlon and other scholars of note hold an engaging and informative talk about the opera our audience is about to see. Generously sponsored by The Flora L. Thornton Foundation and The Opera League of Los Angeles, these talks are free of charge to those attending the performance and take place in the Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall inside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

Click here to watch the pre-show lecture for Tosca. Lectures are streamed live a few minutes before the show. Thereafter, you can watch the lecture for opening night for the run of the show.