TOSCA Student Guide | Opera Company of Philadelphia

Page 1

Opera Company of Philadelphia and The School District of Philadelphia Present

Giacomo Puccini’s


Final Dress Rehearsal Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. at the Academy of Music


A Family Guide to

Pennsylvania’s standards in education call for students to show what they know and are able to do and children need to share what they have discovered or learned. Thus, the title of our program is Sounds of Learning™. It reflects our belief that children must be actively engaged in sharing ideas. The Sounds of Learning™ workbook and teacher guide will integrate with local core literacy curriculum in many ways. Just as opera is a uniquely integrated art, combining orchestra, voice, literature, drama, and dance, Sounds of Learning™ is an interdisciplinary and student-centered program. The goal of the Active Learning sections is to have your children engaged in the process of selfteaching. They will be able to show how they have gained insights into their learning by drawing, writing, and discussing the issues most relevant to them. In this way, students demonstrate what they can do with what they know. We believe the family is the most important foundation to learning. Let your kitchen table become a classroom where your children can build their knowledge of opera and the humanities. As you join in the teaching and learning process with your children, watch their eyes sparkle. Opera is a communal celebration, so too should be your children’s education. In reading the libretto, we suggest that you and your family members take turns reading particular roles. Dr. Ellen Winner of Harvard’s Project Zero found that: “drama helps to build verbal skills that transfer to new materials;” helps students in “reading readiness and achievement;” and “oral and written language development.” (Journal of Aesthetic Education, v34, #3/4, Fall/Winter, 2000.) In preparing for the opera, we suggest you purchase one of EMI Classics’s excellent audio or video recordings of this opera. We are grateful to EMI Classics for offering us their libretti for use in our program. Together, we hope to build future audiences for, and performers of, the arts. Visit EMI on the web at

Goals and Objectives of Sounds of Learning™ • Improve literacy rates by using the opera’s libretto to teach courses across the curriculum • Understand the plot, characters, and their motivations • Learn something about the composer, and others involved in writing the opera • Know something of the historic and social context of the story • Know some key musical elements, recognize certain melodies, differentiate between voices • Understand the role music plays by expressing emotions and heightening the dramatic experience • Understand the various elements of producing opera and the functions of those involved; e.g. conductor, director, set designer, technical crew, etc. • Develop the ability to make judgments about the opera, production, and performance. • Relate incidents in the opera to those of the present day

Best Practices in Arts Education is sponsored by Pennsylvania Alliance for Arts Education, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Table of

Contents Opera 101: Getting Ready for the Opera 2 3 4 5 6

Opera Company of Philadelphia Philadelphia’s Academy of Music Opera Etiquette 101 Opera - Online! A Brief History of Western Opera

Relating Opera to History: The Culture Connection 8 9 10 11

The Man Behind the Music: Giacomo Puccini What in the World? A Timeline of Important Events Keeping it Real: Verismo The Battle of Marengo

Libretto and Production Information 12 13

Puccini Schemes to Make Tosca His Own Tosca: Plot Synopsis

34 35 36 36

Alternate Endings Conflicts and Loves in Tosca GAME: Musical Crossword Puzzle Philadelphia Inquirer Tosca Review from 1901




Check out our website for additional content! Here you’ll find more information on the opera, its themes, lessons, and links to even more fascinating material. See page 5 for more details.


Opera Company of Philadelphia Opera has played a vital part in Philadelphia’s history. The first opera in Philadelphia that we know of was Midas in 1769. Ever since then opera has been so popular in Philadelphia that there have been several opera companies in the city at the same time! In fact, the Opera Company of Philadelphia was created when the Philadelphia Grand Opera Company and the Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company joined in 1975. Since then, the Opera Company of Philadelphia has honored the city’s operatic traditions. Each season the Opera Company presents five different operas with singers from all over the world. Three of the operas are given in the beautiful, large-scale Academy of Music. With just under 2,900 seats, the Academy is the Opera Company’s home for grand opera. Two smaller, more intimate operas are staged in the Perelman Theater. With about 600 seats, the Perelman, in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, is perfect for chamber and modern operas. Today, the Opera Company’s mission, or core purpose, has three parts to it: 1: Deliver outstanding productions of classic operas, often giving them in creative and cutting-edge ways, and create exciting new operas that people in Philadelphia’s socially and culturally varied area will like. We do this by hiring the best stage designers. Sets might be in the Company’s Production Center in the Tacony area of Philadelphia. Sometimes the

Opera Company partners with another company to build new sets and costumes, or rents a production from another company. The Opera Company supports creating new American operas, too. In recent seasons four new operas have been seen at OCP: Margaret Garner by Richard Danielpour, Cyrano by David DiChiera, and Ainadamar by Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov. Tea: A Mirror of Soul by Chinese composer Tan Dun had its East Coast premiere at OCP in February 2010. 2: Find the best young, up-and-coming singers and give them the chance to sing with some of the best singers in the world We find the brightest young singers in our own backyard at two of the best opera schools in the world - The Curtis Institute of Music and the Academy of Vocal Arts. Singers from both schools have sung right along side stars like Denyce Graves and Nathan Gunn. 3: Create informative student and adult programs that will introduce opera to newcomers and that both longtime and new opera fans will enjoy. Each season over 5,000 students from the Delaware Valley attend the opera through the Sounds of Learning™ program. The Company also hosts community recitals and lectures, technology-based internet events, and more. For over 30 years the Opera Company of Philadelphia has brought audiences outstanding production quality, artistry and educational opportunities. A strong blend of traditional and innovative programming will continue to ensure the excitement of opera in Philadelphia.

ACTIVE LEARNING 1. Find out more about the Opera Company of Philadelphia at our website: Soprano Ermonela Jaho and tenor Roger Honeywell in Jun Kaneko’s stylized production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Photo: Kelly & Massa Photography


Want to learn more about the great history of opera in Philadelphia? Visit


Academy of Music


You will attend the opera at Philadelphia’s Academy of Music, the country’s oldest grand opera house still used for its original purpose - performing opera! It is a very grand opera house with a huge chandelier and four levels. Its design was based on the famous La Scala opera house in Milan, Italy. Finding the money to build an opera house in Philadelphia was difficult, but enough money was raised by 1854. On October 13th a plot of land was bought on the corner of Broad and Locust Streets to build the opera house. In the fall of 1854 fifteen architects entered a competition to see who would design the Academy. On February 12, 1855, Gustav Rungé and Napoleon le Brun won the contest, which included a $400 prize. Within four months the ground-breaking took place. The project was so important that President Franklin Pierce, along with the governor and mayor, laid the cornerstone on July 26, 1855. The Academy opened on January 26, 1857 with a Grand Ball and Promenade Concert. The first opera presented in the brand new opera house was Giuseppe Verdi’s Il trovatore on February 25, 1857. Two of many operatic highlights throughout the theater’s history include the American premiere of Charles Gounod’s opera Faust on November 18, 1863 and a performance of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly on February 14, 1907 with the composer in attendance. Numerous presidents have visited the Academy, including Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, and Richard Nixon. Prince Charles of Wales visited the Academy in 2007. Thousands of world-famous performers have also appeared on its stage, like Peter Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, George Gershwin, Igor Stravinsky, Arturo Toscanini, Marian Anderson, Maria Callas, and Luciano Pavarotti. The Academy was made a Registered National Historic Landmark in 1963. Since that time a few improvements have been made to the structure. The “Twenty-First Century Project”, begun in 1996, replaced the stage floor, rigging system, and restored the historic ceiling. During 2008 the famous chandelier was rebuilt to how it looked in 1857. All of these renovations have helped the Academy remain as grand as ever. We hope you find it grand as well!

The Academy of Music’s restored chandelier. Photo by Michael Bolton

Academy Facts ›

The auditorium seats 2,897; 14 columns support the Academy’s tiers; and the auditorium is encased within a three foot thick solid brick wall.

The Academy Chandelier is 25 feet high, 50 feet in circumference, almost 17 feet in diameter, and 3,500 pounds in weight. It has 23,000 crystals on it, which, if laid out, could reach from Broad Street to Rittenhouse Square and back.

The red and gold pattern on the Academy’s stage curtain simulates that of a pineapple, a Victorian-era symbol for “welcome.”

The first-ever indoor football game was held on the Academy’s Parquet level on March 7, 1889 between University of Pennsylvania and Riverton Club of Princeton. At halftime, tug-of-war matches were held as entertainment.

1,600 people attended the first ever motion picture screening on February 5, 1870. The audience saw a couple dancing, a gymnastics routine and more during the silent film.

› ›

Air conditioning was installed in the theatre 1959.

There was no elevator for the general public in the Academy until 1990!

For more information on the Academy of Music, go to the library and take out Within These Walls, by John Francis Marion or go online to


Opera Etiquette 101 There’s nothing quite as exciting as attending the opera in a professional theater like the Academy of Music. You will attend the final dress rehearsal of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Tosca. Here’s what you’ll need to know about attending the opera! Unlike actors on television or in the movies, performers onstage are very aware of the audience. They want to share their love of performing with you. Everything you do in the audience affects what happens on stage. You can show them how much you appreciate their work and the opportunity to come to the rehearsal by being as quiet as possible. So, please refrain from talking out of respect for the cast, musicians, the entire production team, and everyone in the theater, and give the artists and the production your full attention!

ACTIVE LEARNING The picture on this page shows several patrons and famous opera characters on their way to attend an opera at the theater. Now picture yourself in their shoes. On a separate piece of paper, write a few words on what you think the trip to the opera will be like. You may want to mention going to the Academy of Music or attending the opera. What will you wear? How will you and your classmates act? At what time will you meet your classmates? How many classmates will attend? Will you have a special dinner before the opera? If so, where? Will the opera be exciting and entertaining? Share your thoughts here and compare your stories with your classmates.

Here’s a list of DOs and DON’Ts so that everyone in the theater can enjoy the opera:

Please Do... • Applaud after the arias; you can shout “Bravo!” for the men and “Brava!” for the women. • Enter and exit the theater in an orderly fashion. • Please use the bathrooms before the rehearsal begins or at intermission. • Turn off your cell phones and all electronic devices. • Enjoy the rehearsal. You’ve worked too hard preparing for the rehearsal not to!

Don’t Forget... • No food, gum and beverages are allowed inside the theater. • Photographs or video footage may not be taken during the performance. • No talking or whispering during the performance. • No shoving, jumping, running, or spitting in the theater. • Please obey the theater ushers and staff. • Keep all objects to yourself. If you throw something, you might hurt someone and cause a disruption in performance. It is grounds for removal from the auditorium. • MAKE YOUR SCHOOL PROUD!

OPERA – Online!


You might study music in your schools or privately. But where do you go if you want to learn more about Tosca, opera singers, opera-related topics and experience opera more frequently? Visit OCP’s website at: Here you can find more information about Tosca and all the operas presented by the Opera Company at absolutely no cost!

Opera Right in Your Email Inbox! Another great way to learn more is to sign up for the free weekly Sounds of Learning™ email list. Email your name, school and age to and each week we’ll send you an opera video “clip of the week” with famous opera singers singing great arias and ensembles all throughout the summer. Some will be funny, some will be thrilling, some will be dramatic, and all of it will be exciting! Also included in the email will be the website of the week. We’ll feature links to singers’ websites, music links, other great music and opera websites. You can build a whole library of video clips to go back to again and again! Share the clips and links with your family and friends. Don’t forget to check out our Sounds of Learning™ blog at The blog will allow you to discuss the opera with students throughout the tri-state area! Log onto the blog and share your thoughts and views about the opera, the music, the set, the singers, the Academy of Music, coming to center city Philadelphia, the email list “clip of the week” and more! Other students participating in Sounds of Learning™ from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware want to hear what you have to say! Post your comments by going to:

See rehearsal photos on our website at Log on and see our Behind the Scenes area to see how a production develops from the first day of rehearsal to opening night! Also, you can download extra copies of the Sounds of Learning™ guide and past guides from this page as well. All of this content is provided for free! If you’re online, check out our myspace and facebook pages, too. Just search for Opera Company of Philadelphia!

A Brief History of


Western Opera

Theatrical performances that use music, song and dance to tell a story can be found in many cultures. Opera is just one example of music drama. Throughout its 400-year history opera has been shaped by the times in which it was created and tells us much about those who participated in the art form as writers, composers, performers, and audience members. The first works to be called operas were created in Italy at the end of the sixteenth century. They were inspired by a group of intellectuals known as the Florentine Camerata who, like many thinkers of their time in the late Renaissance, admired the culture of the ancient Greeks. They proposed the invention of a new type of musical theater that would imitate Greek drama’s use of music. The result was a series of operas based on Greek myths, starting with Dafne by Jacopo Peri in 1598. The most famous work of this early period is Claudio Monteverdi’s Orfeo (1607), based on the myth of Orpheus. These early operas had all the basic elements that we associate with opera today, including songs, instrumental accompaniments, dance, costumes, and scenery.

These early operas were performed in the courts of Italian noblemen, but soon opera became Claudio Monteverdi popular with the general public. 1567-1643 Europe at the time had a growing middle class with a taste for spectacular entertainment. As opera’s popularity grew, so did the complexity of operas and the level of spectacle. Many opera houses had elaborate machinery that could be used to create special effects such as flying actors and crumbling buildings. There was much debate about whether an excess of visual elements in opera detracted from the quality of the music and drama. Some people even worried that too much comedy in opera could lead to immorality among the public! During the period from about 1600 to 1750, the Baroque period in music, Italian opera spread across Europe. In fact the Italian style of opera was so popular that even though other countries and regions often had their own traditions of musical drama, the Italian form was usually preferred. George Frederick Handel was a German-born composer who lived and worked in England, but his operas, such as Julius Caesar (1724), were written in the Italian language and used an Italian style of

A tense scene from Act II of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. (l-r: bass Richard Bernstein, baritone Simone Alberghini and sopranos Christine Brandes and Mary Dunleavy.)

Bass Kevin Glavin gets a close shave from baritone Roberto DeCandia in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.

music. The only nation to develop a national tradition to rival the Italian was France, where operas often included ballets inserted into the story. JeanBaptiste Lully and Jean-Philippe Rameau are the most famous French Baroque opera composers. By the eighteenth century Europe was changing. The growing middle class was more influential than ever, and people were starting to talk about new forms of government and organization in society. Soon the American and French Revolutions (1776 and 1789) would seek to establish the first modern democracies. Music was changing, too. Composers abandoned the Baroque era’s complicated musical style and began to write simpler music with more expressive melodies. Opera composers could write melodies that allowed characters to express their thoughts and feelings more believably. One of the first operas to use this new style was Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice (1762). With the new democratic sentiments came interest in operas about common people in familiar settings, rather than stories from ancient mythology. A good example is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (1786), in which a servant outsmarts a count. Several of Mozart’s operas remain among the most popular today. They include Figaro, Don Giovanni (1788), Così fan tutte (1790), and The Magic Flute (1791). In the nineteenth century operas continued to grow more diverse in their subject matter, forms, and national styles. The Italian tradition continued in the bel canto movement. Operas written in this style, which means “beautiful singing”, included arias with intricate ornamentation, or combinations of fast notes, in the melodies. The most famous bel canto composers are Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti and Gioacchino Rossini, whose The Barber of Seville (1816) is one of the most beloved comic operas.

Later in the century the Romantic Movement led many composers to take an interest their national identities. As a result, operas in languages other than Italian became more common, and new works often reflected pride in a country’s people, history and folklore. Among the operas that show the growth of national traditions are Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz (Germany, 1821), Mikhail Glinka’s Ruslan and Lyudmilla (Russia, 1842) and Georges Bizet’s Carmen (France, 1875). In Italy Giuseppe Verdi composed in a bold, direct style, and his operas, such as Nabucco (1842) and Macbeth (1847), often included elements of nationalism. In Germany Richard Wagner took the Romantic style to the extreme in an ambitious series of operas known collectively as The Ring of the Nibelung (1876) based on Norse mythology. In the twentieth century opera became even more diversified and experimental, to the point that it sometimes became difficult to distinguish it from other forms of musical theater. Some composers such as Giacomo Puccini (La bohème, 1896), Claude Debussy (Pelléas et Mélisande, 1902), Richard Strauss (Salome, 1905), and Benjamin Britten (Peter Grimes, 1945) continued to write operas that were similar in many ways to those of the nineteenth century. Others, horrified by the destructive effects of World War I (1914-1919) and other aspects of modern life, created works with radically experimental and dissonant music. These operas often explored topics that were either disturbing (Wozzeck by Alban Berg, 1925) or absurdist (The Rake’s Progress by Igor Stravinsky, 1951). American opera also came into its own in this century, beginning with George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (1935) which incorporated jazz and blues styles of music. In the latter part of the century a repetitive and hypnotic style known as minimalism was exemplified in Phillip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach (1976), a piece that would hardly be recognized as an opera by earlier standards. The late twentieth century even saw a return to some of the traits of Romantic opera in works such as John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles (1991). Today, opera is a living art form in which both new works and those by composers of the past continue to be performed. It remains to be seen what the future of opera will be, but if history is any indication, it will be shaped by the creativity of librettists, composers, and other artists responding the changing times in which they live.


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756-1791

The Man Behind the Music:


Giacomo Puccini Giacomo Puccini’s family was very poor due to his father’s death at the age of 51, when Giacomo was five. He was the oldest son. His mother was left to support two sons and six daughters. She believed that a good education could free her children from their poverty. The following letter was written by Puccini’s mother to the Queen of Italy in an attempt to acquire a scholarship for her son. Majesty, You are the Queen and the mother of all the poor, and you are also the patroness of artists, while I am a poor widow with two young sons, whose ambition in life is to give them the best education. My children are students of music, and the older of them, Giacomo, shows great promise. For five generations, the Puccini’s have formed a dynasty of musicians, and if the opportunity should arise, Giacomo will continue the glorious tradition. He has terminated his studies at Lucca; he desires to proceed to Milan, the capital of music. I cannot myself pay his expenses at the Conservatory, for I have only a meager monthly pension of 75 lire allowed me by the City Council. The Duchess Carafa, who knows me well, has encouraged me to write to Your Majesty. Will you therefore in your immense generosity come to the help of a poor mother and an ambitious boy. Kissing your munificent hand, I am Albina Magi-Puccini Even after Puccini received a scholarship, he remained poor. He often wrote to his mother about food, requesting a little olive oil or some beans. He found that the other students were from wealthier families and he could not join them at the cafes of Milan because a drink was more than he could afford. While he was a student at the conservatory, he wrote Capriccio sinfonico. This piece was part of his graduation requirements, and it later found its way into the opening theme of his opera La bohème. After he graduated with a bronze medal, he struggled for ten years before he became recognized as a major talent in the field of opera. During this time, he would send his younger brother Michele the few extra lire he had. However, his brother decided to immigrate to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1889 in search of a better life.

It was there that he became ill with yellow fever in 1891 and died. His brother’s death pained Giacomo deeply. If he had been successful a little earlier, he thought, his brother emigrate.






Puccini’s family was not the only family suffering. Italy was one of the poorest nations of Europe when Puccini was alive. Italy had been one of the last nations to unify its states into a country and powerful European nations and the Vatican controlled large sections of the country. As a result of political instability and frequent wars that moved through the region, Italy’s economy was largely underdeveloped. The economy was weak because investors put their money into nations with stable governments. Countries that have frequent uprisings or political instability place the investments and economy at greater risk. Who would want to put money in an area where the new factory could be burned down in the next riot? As a result, Italy was not able to begin to attract the foreign investors needed to build its economy. Some scholars feel that the loss of his young brother to an early death, as a result of poverty, was the passionate power behind the music in his operas. The theme of poverty was addressed in his operas La bohème, which tells of four young and starving artists, and Gianni Schicchi, in which a wealthy man’s relatives try to rewrite the his will so they get his riches. As Puccini grew more successful, he continued to be aware of the suffering of those he considered to have “great sorrows in little souls.”

ACTIVE LEARNING 1. What are some of the challenges facing families living in poverty in Philadelphia?


What are some ways that you can help those who are living in poverty?


Investigate local charities that work with the homeless and see what kinds of programs they provide.


If you were in a position to assist at a local charity, can you think of other programs that you would start to help the homeless more?

What in the World??

Personal and Historic Events during Puccini’s Life Listed below are some historic and cultural events that took place during Puccini’s life. Events in boldface type are things that happened to Puccini; an asterisk (*) indicates events of local interest. What might it have been like to be alive at this time?

1857 1858 1861 1865 1870 1874 1876 1877 1880 1882 1883 1884

* Philadelphia’s Academy of Music opened with a concert conducted by Tchaikovsky. Puccini was born on December 22 in Lucca, son of Michele Puccini and Albina Magi. American Civil War began. It ended in 1865. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery throughout the U.S. * The first section of the famous boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J. opened to the public. * The first U.S. zoo opened in Philadelphia. Puccini wrote the Symphonic Prelude. He attended the opera Aïda and was very impressed. * The first department store was opened by John Wanamaker in Philadelphia. While at the Conservatory of Lucca, Puccini composed a Mass for soloists and orchestra. He enrolled at the Conservatory in Milan and was taught by Bazzini and Ponchielli. The first string of Christmas tree lights was created by Thomas Edison. * The Philadelphia Phillies, then called the Quakers, played their first baseball game. Puccini’s first opera, Le Villi, premiered on May 31 in Milan. He began to work with publisher Giulio Ricordi. His mother died. He began a long love affair with his friend’s wife. America's first roller coaster began operating at Coney Island, NYC. It hit a top speed of 6 mph.

1890 1893 1896

Ellis Island, NYC, opened as a US immigration depot. Manon Lescaut gave Puccini his first big success at Teatro Reggio in Turin on February 1. * Philadelphia observed the first Flag Day. The premiere of La bohème at Teatro Regio on February 1 was led by conductor Arturo Toscanini. The first movie theater in US opened and charged 10 cents for admission.

1900 1901 1904 1907 1910 1912 1919 1921 1922 1924 1926

Puccini’s Tosca premiered at Teatro Costanzi in Rome on January 14. The hamburger was created by Louis Lassing in Connecticut. * The first annual Mummers parade was held in Philadelphia. Puccini married Elvira Bonturi after the death of her first husband. Madama Butterfly had a disastrous premiere at La Scala. Puccini revised it for a successful Brescia production on May 28. Puccini traveled to New York to see the Metropolitan Opera premieres of Madama Butterfly and Manon Lescaut. He was impressed by David Belasco’s play The Girl of the Golden West. Puccini went to New York a second time for the premiere of La fanciulla del west on November 10, led by Arturo Toscanini and starring Enrico Caruso. The opera was based on Belasco’s play. The British ocean liner Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg. * Construction began on the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s current home. It was completed in 1928. Puccini began work on Turandot at Viareggio with a libretto by Adami and Simone. King Tut’s tomb was discovered. After treatment for throat cancer, Puccini died of a heart attack on November 29. Two months after his death, Puccini was given the honorary title of senator. His remains were moved to Torre del Lago and reinterred in the estate chapel. Turandot premiered incomplete at La Scala, conducted by Toscanini on April 25. Later performance included the ending as completed by Franco Alfano who used Puccini’s sketches.

Tenor Enrico Caruso in Puccini’s La fanciulla del west. Photo courtesy Library of Congress



Verismo: Keeping it Real The verismo school of opera tried to offer a realistic “slice of life” using the common citizen as the focal topic upon which the operas were based. Thus, the term verismo means realist. Using versimo, the composer sought to pull the audience emotionally into the drama. While the music captivated the audience, the real life drama led to climax which shocked the audience with unusual impact.

(right) The famous Ricordi poster created for Tosca’s premiere in 1900. (Below) Tenor Roger Honeywell and soprano Ermonela Jaho portray the lovers in Puccini’s realistic or “verismo” opera La bohème.

Giuseppe Verdi, the great composer of the 19th century, indirectly assisted the verismo movement. Verdi’s La traviata (1853) is an example where the movement found encouragement. The opera’s main character was a woman whose conduct proper society found scandalous. Before that time, it had been unthinkable that an opera might be set in the boudoir of a woman, especially of a woman of questionable morals. The stage was set for opera to grasp a new development found in the realist literature of the second half of the 19th century. The new verismo genre had all the right ingredients: common men and women struggling with love, jealousy and violence. Giovanni Vera, author of the novel Cavalleria Rusticana, was the master of the verismo literary movement in Italy. Composer Pietro Mascagni turned Vera’s book into an opera of the same name in 1890 and it was a sensation. Within two years of its premiere Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana had been staged in opera houses across Europe and North and South America. The massive success of Ruggero this opera led Leoncavallo to ponder a story he had heard. His father had been a judge at a bizarre murder trial which involved a clown. Leoncavallo, combining his poetic and musical skills, created the second true verismo masterpiece, Pagliacci (1892). He took verismo further than Mascagni had by writing into his libretto a prologue which declared that the composer was a man and, as such, had the naked truth to offer. Photo: Kelly & Massa

Verismo opera evolved over time, but as we have seen, the accomplishments of many composers aided the realization of the genre. Each composer made his own unique contribution to it. Giacomo Puccini’s opera Tosca (1900) was violent but had a historic nature. After its premiere, the critics characterized it as a “shabby little shocker” its off-stage torture scene and its portrayal of a thwarted rape. Puccini was a true showman. He knew how to excite and entertain the audience. Critics did not care for the opera, but the people did. Puccini’s exotic Madama Butterfly (1904) examined the clash of the Japanese culture with the American. While the opera does not fall easily within the verismo genre, some have considered it veristic because of the troubled relationship between the American naval officer and Cio-Cio San (Butterfly) as well as her sensational suicide at the end of the opera. Although it was written at a time of great European interest in Japan, it was booed throughout its opening night. Many felt that the libretto went against their family values, a complaint often lodged against verismo works. The verismo operas reflect a society in the midst of rapid change. No longer were kings, queens, gods and goddesses the topic of operas, but common folk to whom audiences could intimately relate. Verismo stories could be incredibly passionate or wildly violent, but they were always interesting and even downright shocking!

ACTIVE LEARNING 1. Want to see a verismo opera?

Check out Netflix or YouTube to find clips of some of the operas mentioned in this article.

The Battle of Marengo Tosca, according to Sardou’s play, takes place in the afternoon and evening of June 17th and the early morning of 18th, 1800. We’re in the tail end of The Age of Enlightenment. Bel canto master Vincenzo Bellini would be born this year and Giovanni Paisiello’s operas were all the rage in Italy. Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had passed some nine years earlier, but Ludwig van Beethoven’s opera Fidelio would premiere five years later. The United States was twenty-four years old and John Adams was about to move into the brand new White House, the first president to live there. Italy was not yet unified, but a collection of small states and northern Italy was occupied by Austrian forces.

Battle of Marengo

Tosca’s Rome

The French Revolution had just ended, and Napoleon Bonaparte was quickly making a name for himself. He and his troops had invaded Italy in 1796 and established a republic in Rome two years later. The Pope fled to Tuscany. The republic was ruled by seven consuls. In the opera, Tosca, we meet former consul and escaped political prisoner Angelotti, who is based on two historical figures. One of these figures was found hiding in a well, just as Angelotti is in the opera’s second act. By September 1799, the Austrians had forced the French north and regained control of Rome and eventually all of northern Italy. Napoleon, in his quest to dominate Europe, returned to Italy with his troops. He crossed the Alps on a mule, and arrived in Marengo on Saturday, June 14th. Austrian forces under Michael von Melas surprised Napoleon around 10 o’clock in the morning and the French initially fell back. Thinking that the Austrians had won, Melas had left his position to return to the nearby town of Alessandria because of a slight wound. Word was sent to Rome of Napoleon’s defeat. In the opera at the end of Act I, the Sacristan rejoices in the news that Melas has been victorious over Napoleon and Tosca is asked to sing a celebratory cantata that evening before Austria’s King Ferdinand I and Queen Marie-Caroline. But by late afternoon, new French forces arrived and Napoleon attacked the tired Austrians who retreated and fled by 7 o’clock at night. News was later sent to Rome that Napoleon had been victorious. In Act II this news interrupts Scarpia just

as Cavaradossi has been brought in after being tortured. Scarpia would have been in charge of political security. In Austrian-dominated Rome, he would have been very pro-Austria and anti-Napoleon. Cavaradossi would have been an idealistic rebel, looking to embrace the freedom now found in France and looking for a unified Italy. Napoleon continued his conquest of Italy, forcing Ferdinand, his queen, and all Austrian allies, out of Italy. Rome would remain under Napoleonic rule for 14 years.

ACTIVE LEARNING 1. Visit to learn more about the Battle of Marengo, stratgies of both Napoleon and Melas, see maps and more.


To learn more about Napoleon, visit


Puccini Schemes to


Make Tosca His Own Giacomo Puccini painted indelible portraits of his heroines: Manon, Mimi, Minnie, Liu, Turandot, and Tosca. He was inspired by his heroines to create great art. He knew when he first saw Victorien Sardou's play, La Tosca in 1889 when it toured Italy that he must set the play to music. A little more than two weeks after the premiere of his opera Edgar (1889), he wrote to his publisher Ricordi begging him to acquire the rights to Sardou’s La Tosca, “I implore you to take the necessary steps in order to obtain Sardou’s permission…I see the opera which exactly suits me!” Sardou did not grant the rights to Puccini, but Tosca would resurface six years later. In the interim came careermaking successes for the composer: Manon Lescaut (1893) and La bohème (1896). Puccini was looking for his next topic and the two most serious considerations were Maeterlinck’s Pelléas et Mélisande and an opera on the last days of Marie Antoinette.

Although he didn’t sing the world premiere of the opera, Enrico Caruso (below) was one of the greatest singers to perform Cavaradossi ever!

Puccini returned to Sardou’s La Tosca. Its sensational subject would be in line with the successful “verismo” operas that were all the rage. Plus La Tosca had been embraced triumphantly throughout Europe, frequently with Sardou’s muse, the celebrated Sarah Bernhard, as the heroine. La Tosca had been performed 3,000 times in France alone. The problem for Puccini was that music publisher Guilio Ricordi had purchased the rights to Sardou’s play. Ricordi asked Luigi Illica to set the libretto which was given to composer Alberto Franchetti, who met with Illica and the playwright in Paris to discuss the opera. Word got back to Puccini and he begged Ricordi again to give him the opera. But what to do? Franchetti now had the rights to the opera. The legend has it that Ricordi and Illica discouraged Franchetti from setting the work. With Cavaradossi’s torture, Scarpia’s attempted rape of Tosca, Tosca’s murder of Scarpia, Cavaradossi’s execution and Tosca’s fatal leap, the opera was too violent and brutal. Did Franchetti really want to risk creating a heroine who might be unsympathetic? Whether or not this is true, Fanchetti got cold feet and relinquished the rights. Ricordi signed a contract with Puccini soon after.

Puccini then worked with librettists Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa to fine tune the libretto. He even met with the sixty five year old playwright. Sardou asked for 50,000 francs for the composing fee, but Puccini negotiated an agreement with Sardou getting 15% of gross profits. Sardou helped Puccini in condensing the 5 act play into 3 acts and provided all sorts of unsolicited advice, too! Puccini fought with his librettists for improvements as well. The two had also envisioned the opera’s finale with Tosca going mad instead of throwing herself off the Castel Sant’Angelo. Puccini guided the two to tailor and create a libretto that even Sardou said was better than his play. Puccini went to great pains to ensure his score was as authentic as possible. For the Act I finale he researched different settings of the Te Deum that were sung in Roman churches, wrote the cantata that Tosca sings off stage in Act II in the style of the early 19th century composer Giovanni Paisiello, ensured that the music that opens the third act was in tune with the bells of the Castel Sant'Angelo, and more. When the opera went into rehearsal in Rome, Puccini’s preferred conductor, Arturo Toscanini was booked at La Scala and couldn’t premiere the opera. The then-unfamous tenor Enrico Caruso had hoped to sing Cavaradossi for the premiere, but the plum assignment went to Emilio de Marchi. The premiere of a new opera by Puccini was a national event. The opening night crowd was a who’s who and attended by heads of state including Italy’s prime minister, Queen Margherita, Roman dignitaries, as well as several of Puccini’s rival composers. Additional drama, like a bomb scare and a near-riot when latecomers demanded to be allowed into the theater, made the world premiere of Tosca that much more sensational. The opening night went well with several arias encored, but critics were not terribly warm in their response and targeted the libretto for most of the criticism. The critics didn’t seem to affect audience response though – the opera played to packed houses for 20 additional performances. Today Tosca is one of the most popular operas in the world. Tosca is easily Puccini’s most glamourous heroine, and possibly his most passionate. It’s hard for opera lovers to imagine what Tosca would have sounded like if written by another composer.

Tosca Plot



ACT I: Escaped political prisoner Cesare Angelotti rushes

ACT II: Alone in his apartment in the Palazzo Farnese,

into the church of Sant'Andrea della Valle, seeking refuge in the Attavanti family chapel. ('Ah, finalmente!') A Sacristan enters followed by the painter Mario Cavaradossi, who is working on a portrait of Mary Magdalene. He studies the canvas, which combines the blond haired beauty that he has seen in the church with the dark beauty of his beloved, the singer Tosca. ('Recondita armonia') Angelotti emerges from his hiding place and is recognized by Cavaradossi, his friend and political ally. Angelotti tells him that he has just escaped from the Castel Sant’Angelo, where he has been imprisoned by Scarpia. Angelotti hides again when they hear Tosca outside. ('Mario! Mario! Mario!') When Cavaradossi lets her in, she jealously asks why she heard voices in the church. Cavaradossi reassures her and they sing of their love. When she is gone, Angelotti comes out of hiding and plots his flight with Cavaradossi. When they hear the sound of a cannon they know that Angelotti’s escape has been discovered by the police and the two flee to Cavaradossi’s villa. The Sacristan returns followed by clerics and choirboys. They are interrupted by Scarpia, the chief of the secret police, who enters searching for Angelotti. Tosca soon returns in search of Cavaradossi. Scarpia uses a fan he has found belonging Angelotti’s sister to arouse her suspicions. Thinking that Cavaradossi has been unfaithful, she vows vengeance and hurries off for the villa. Hoping that she will lead him to Angelotti, Scarpia sends his men to follow her and vows to make her his. ('Tre sbirri... Una carrozza...')

Scarpia dines and anticipates bending Tosca to his will. ('Tosca è un buon falco!') The spy Spoletta enters and reports that they were unable to find Angelotti at Cavaradossi’s villa and have placed Cavaradossi under arrest instead. Cavaradossi is brought in and questioned. Scarpia has sent for Tosca, who is in the palace performing. She enters just as they are taking Cavaradossi away. Upon hearing his tortured screams, Tosca reveals Angelotti’s whereabouts. Learning of her betrayal, Cavaradossi curses Tosca’s weakness. Tosca asks Scarpia what the price of her lover’s freedom will be and he tells her that she must submit to his embraces. Tosca cries that she has devoted her life to art and wants to know why God would repay her with such misery. ('Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore') Spoletta enters with the news that Angelotti has killed himself rather than be taken prisoner. Tosca agrees to give in to Scarpia if he will set Cavaradossi free, but Scarpia tells her that he cannot pardon Cavaradossi and instead will set him free after a mock execution. Tosca insists that he write a note of safe passage for both her and Cavaradossi. While he is writing, Tosca notices a knife, which she takes without his notice. After he has sealed the note, Scarpia advances on Tosca and she stabs him. Tosca grabs the note of safe passage and quickly flees.

ACT III: Cavaradossi

is brought to a platform in the Castel Sant'Angelo. He asks for a pen and paper in order to write a letter for Tosca and reflects on his love for her. ('E lucevan le stelle') Tosca rushes in with the note of safe passage and tells Cavaradossi of Scarpia’s death. Cavaradossi praises Tosca for her courage and Tosca explains the plan for the mock execution. ('O dolci mani') She worries whether he’ll be able to play his part and tells him that he should lie still after the gunshots until she gives him the signal. When the firing squad comes to perform their duties, Cavaradossi falls to the ground. She tells him that it is safe to move, but when he does not respond, Tosca realizes Scarpia’s treachery. Having discovered Scarpia murdered, Spoletta and the others come to arrest her. Before they can catch her, Tosca climbs on the battlement and, saying that she and Scarpia will meet before God, leaps to her death. ('O Scarpia, avanti a Dio!')

The historic Castel Sant’Angelo, off of which Tosca leaps to her death.


Alternate Endings Using the space below, write what you think could have happened to the characters in Tosca if the ending were different. Write a new ending for the libretto based on what you would have liked to have seen happen to the characters. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________

Conflicts and Loves in Tosca Draw a picture of Cavaradossi in the middle circle. In the outer circles, draw a picture of those individuals with whom he has a direct relationship: Tosca, Scarpia, Angelotti, the Sacristan. Then in the boxes pointing toward the middle circle, write how that individual feels about the central character. In the boxes pointing to the outer circles, write how Cavaradossi feels about them.



Crossword Puzzle






































The highest woman’s or boy’s singing voice.



A note that sounds twice as high in pitch as another and has the same letter naming it.

A series of notes arranged in descending or ascending order of pitch.


Very fast.


The highest man’s singing voice.


One of the separate sections into which a long piece of music is divided.


A long elaborate musical composition for a full orchestra, usually in several parts.

9 10

A half tone, an interval midway between two whole tones. Name of the scales which begin with the foundation tone (do) followed by a whole tone for the second note, followed by a whole tone for the 3rd (Music written in these scales often have a strong, cheerful sound).






Name of the scales with the third tone a half-step above the second tone (music based on these scales seem sad and melancholic).


Very loud.


A half-step higher than the corresponding note or key of natural pitch.


A musical composition for one or more solo instruments and an orchestra.


In slow time and dignified style.


Fast and lively.



Moderately slow time.

A half-step lower than the corresponding note or key of natural pitch.


A note that is neither sharp nor flat.


A group of notes played at the same time in harmony.


The basic pulse of a piece of music.


A direction term meaning getting slower.


Very softly.


A musical composition numbered as one of a composer's works, usually in order of publication.


The basic note of the main scale used in a piece of music.


The lowest female singing voice.


A musical composition for one instrument or two, usually with three or four movements.


The line that divides one measure from another.


The range of the male voice between a tenor and bass.


The lowest male singing voice.


An interval equal to two semitones.


r e r i u q n I a i h p l Philade March 1, 1901 emy Grand Opera at the Acad y of Puccini’s “La Tosca First Production in This Citthe Title Role with Ternina in for the purpose of sca,” which was written To “La of ma dra g illin ’s thr ced for the first time Puccini’s setting of Sardou sh sensation, was produ fre ce du pro to ity un ort t with an opp audience present… providing Sarah Bernhard ere was not a very large Th g. nin eve t las sic Mu ademy of in Philadelphia at the Ac was no one in the cast of politicians say, and there the as ll, pu r ula pop no The opera itself had w the crowd. personal popularity to dra ent fici suf se who absented sic is concerned, that tho mu s ni’ cci Pu as far so , to say the school which holds Yet we are not prepared Tosca” is the last word of “La of re sco e Th . ers ch the los that the musical elements themselves were very mu of primary importance and nt me ele the is ra ope in an of theory which prevailed that the dramatic element This is the direct reversal ct. un adj te ina thing and that ord sub and y that the music was the tur cen t las is only a supplementary the of e ddl two until well past the mi the truth lies between the almost without question consequence. Of course le litt t as the tan ely por ativ im rel as of is re h we nor the musical. Eac e the words and actions rem sup ly per pro is matic elements extremes. Neither the dra expense. be exalted at the other’s uld sho r other and neithe Tosca” is less than nt of view the score of “La poi al sic and mu y rel me the consistency and power, The result is that from s that with intelligence and te doe It ple ht. com rig as all te, s ple ion act com to the drama is n tio ina satisfying. It illustrates the ord sub its t s bu asi , ph indicated em nary impressiveness ned melodramas always hio fas sometimes with extraordi old the in the ich in wh thing on the fiddles ation. There is hardly any as the tremolo movement e particularly thrilling situ som apart from of ce ent can pm nifi elo sig or dev uty the e any value or bea and accompanied hav uld wo it ugh tho as sounds score of “La Tosca” which d. ate rel is it ich wh the scene to illing stage. There are some thr tiveness of passes on the ges d to the sug l dde we ona oti has em ni the cci music which Pu It does…intensify the by g illin thr re mo de but they were ma moments in “La Tosca,” are frankly theatrical. , the inspiration of it all lse pu play. The art, the im h spirit, smoothness, breadt first to last with utmost m fro n nt we bee It . had ble ra ira the ope The performance was adm the excellence with which the more convincing by all onal actress of ed oti der em ren an s t wa bu it ist, and art and vigor; be not only a lyric to f sel her d we sho , sca mounted. Ternina as la To exceptional ability.

ACTIVE LEARNING 1. You’ve just read what critics in 1901 thought of Puccini’s Tosca. Now it’s your turn to share your thoughts on the opera with us! Write your review of the opera on our blog at

Glossary act (akt) n. one of the main divisions of a play or opera. agnostic (ag-nos-tik) adj. a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as god, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience. allegro (uh-leg-roh) adv. musical term for fast and lively. alto (al-toh) n. the range of the female voice between mezzo-soprano and contralto. andante (ahn-dahn-tey) adv. a musical term meaning in moderately slow time. antagonist (an-tag-o-nist) n. an adversary or opponent of the main character or protagonist in an opera, play, or other drama. aria (ahr-ee-uh) n. an operatic song for one voice. bailiff (bey-lif) n. an officer, similar to a sheriff or a sheriff's deputy, employed to execute writs and processes, make arrests, keep order in the court, etc. bar (bahr) n. a division of music containing a set number of beats. baritone (bar-i-tohn) n. the range of the male voice between tenor and bass. bass (beys) n. the lowest male singing voice. beat (beet) n. the basic pulse of a piece of music. Beelzebub (bee-el-zuh-buhb) n. the devil; Satan. befoul (bih-foul) v. to make dirty or filthy; soil; defile; sully. beseech (bih-seech) v. to implore urgently. brusque (bruhsk) adj. abrupt in manner; blunt; rough. chord (kord) n. a group of notes played at the same time in harmony. chorus (kawr-uhs) n. 1. a group of singers. 2. a piece of music for these. chronological (kron-l-oj-i-kuhl) adj. a method of arrangement that puts events in order of occurrence. clemency (klem-uhn-see) n. an act or deed showing mercy or leniency. contralto (cuhn-tral-toh) n. the lowest female singing voice. coup de grace (kooduh grahs) n. a death blow, especially one delivered mercifully to end suffering. disheveled (dih-shev-uhld) adj. hanging loosely or in disorder; untidy dissemble (dih-sem-buhl) v. to give a false or misleading appearance to; conceal the truth or real nature of. dregs (dregz) n. the least valuable part of anything. extravagant (ik-strav-uh-guhnt) adj. exceeding the bounds of reason, as actions, demands, opinions, or passions. fervent (fur-vuhnt) adj. having or showing great warmth or intensity of spirit, feeling, enthusiasm, etc.; ardent. flat (b) (flat) adj. a half-step lower than the corresponding note or key of natural pitch. forte (f) (for-tay) adv. loudly. fortissimo (ff) (for-tee-see-moh) adv. a musical term for very loud. gallantry (gal-uhn-tree) n. dashing courage; heroic bravery; noble-minded behavior. gallows (gal-ohz) n. a wooden frame or structure on which condemned persons are executed by hanging. gibbet (jib-it) n. a gallows with a projecting arm at the top, from which the bodies of criminals were formerly hung in chains and left suspended after execution. heretic (her-i-tik) n. a professed believer who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church or rejects doctrines prescribed by that church. idle (ahyd-l) adj. not working or active; unemployed; doing nothing. imperturbable (im-per-tur-buh-buhl) adj. incapable of being upset or agitated; not easily excited. implore (im-plawr) v. to beg urgently or piteously, as for aid or mercy; beseech. indulgence (in-duhl-juhns) n. a partial remission of the temporal punishment, especially purgatorial atonement, that is still due for a sin or sins after absolution. ironic (ahy-ron-ik) adj. the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning. key (kee) n. the basic note of the main scale used in a piece of music. In the key of G, for example, G is the fundamental note; the music often returns to it and comes to rest on it. lacquer (lak-er) n. a protective coating consisting of a resin, cellulose ester, or both, dissolved in a volatile solvent, sometimes with pigment added. languish (lang-gwish) v. to pine with desire or longing.



largo (lahr-goh) adv. a musical term meaning in slow time and dignified style. leitmotiv (lahyt-mo-teev) n. a melodic passage or phrase associated with a specific character, situation, or element. libertine (lib-er-teen) n. a person who is morally or sexually unrestrained, especially a dissolute man. libretto (li-bret-oh) n. the words of an opera or other long musical. licentious (lahy-sen-shuhs) adj. sexually unrestrained; unrestrained by law or general morality. major (mahy-zer) adj. music in a major key uses a major scale, in which the first three notes are the key note followed by intervals of a tone and then another tone (for example, C, D, E). It often has a cheerful, strong sound. minor (my-ner) adj. music in a minor key uses a minor scale, in which the first three notes are the key note followed by intervals of a tone and then a semitone ( for example A, B, C). It often has a sad, melancholic sound. natural (nach-er-uhl) adj. a note that is neither flattened nor sharpened. octave (ok-tiv) n. a note that sounds twice as high in pitch as another, is an octave above the other note, and has the same letter naming it. opera (op-er-uh) n. a play in which the words are sung to musical accompaniment. orchestra (awr-keh-struh) n. a large body of people playing various musical instruments, including stringed and wind instruments. overture (oh-ver-cher) n. an orchestral composition forming a prelude to an opera or ballet. paltry (pawl-tree) adj. ridiculously or insultingly small. pianissimo (pp) (pee-ah-nees-ee-moh) adv. a musical term meaning very softly. piano (p) (pi-an-oh) 1. adv. a musical term meaning softly. 2. n. keyed percussion instrument first named pianoforte because it could play both softly and loudly. piety (pahy-i-tee) n. reverence for god or devout fulfillment of religious obligations. plight (plahyt) v. to bind (someone) by a pledge, esp. of marriage. presto (pres-toh) adv. a musical term meaning very fast. pretence (pri-tens) n. pretending or feigning; make-believe. prudent (prood-nt) adj. wise or judicious in practical affairs; sagacious; discreet or circumspect; sober. quartered (kwawr-terd) v. to cut the body of (a person) into quarters, especially in executing for treason or the like. recompense (rek-uhm-pens) v. to pay or give compensation for. sacristy (sak-ri-stee) n. an apartment in or a building connected with a church or a religious house, in which the sacred vessels, vestments, etc., are kept. sate (seyt) v. to satisfy (any appetite or desire) fully. scale (skayl) n. a series of notes arranged in descending or ascending order of pitch. scourge (skurj) n. a person or thing that applies or administers punishment or severe criticism. scrutinize (skroot-n-ahyz) v. to examine in detail with careful or critical attention. semitone (sem-i-tohn) n. a half step or half tone, an interval midway between two whole tones. sharp (#) (shahrp) n. any note a semitone higher than another note. Also, slightly too high in pitch. soprano (so-prah-noh) n. the highest female or boy's singing voice. stage (stayj) n. a platform on which a public performance is given before an audience. staging (stay-jing) n. the presentation or production on the stage. strumpet (struhm-pit) n. prostitute or harlot. succour (suhk-er) n. help; relief; aid; assistance. symphony (sim-foh-nee) n. a long musical composition (usually in several parts) for a full orchestra. synopsis (si-nop-sis) n. a summary, a brief general survey. tirade (tahy-reyd) n. a prolonged outburst of bitter, outspoken denunciation. tone (tohn) n. 1. an interval equal to two semitones. 2. the sound quality of an instrument or voice. tyrant (tahy-ruhnt) n. a sovereign or other ruler who uses power oppressively or unjustly. vanquish (vang-kwish) v. to conquer or subdue by superior force, as in battle. verismo (vuh-riz-moh ) n. realism in opera. wantonness (won-tn) adj. sexually lawless or unrestrained; loose; lascivious; lewd. zeal (zeel) n. fervor for a person, cause, or object; eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic diligence; ardor. From Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Š Random House, Inc. 2011.

The School District of Philadelphia School Reform Commission Robert L. Archie Jr., Esq., Chairman

Sounds of Learning™ was established by a generous grant from The Annenberg Foundation.

Denise McGregor Armbrister, member Joseph A. Dworetzky, member Amb. David F. Girard-diCarlo, Ret., member Johnny Irizarry, member Dr. Arlene C. Akerman Superintendent of Schools

Pamela Brown Interim Chief Academic Officer

Dennis W. Creedon, Ed.D. Director of Comprehensive Arts Education

Dedicated funding for the Sounds of Learning™ program has been provided by: $20,000 to $49,999 Hamilton Family Foundation Lincoln Financial Group Foundation Presser Foundation Universal Health Services Anonymous

Written and produced by: Opera Company of Philadelphia Community Programs Department ©2011 1420 Locust Street, Suite 210 Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A. 19102 Tel: (215) 893-5927 Fax: (215) 893-7801 Michael Bolton Director of Community Programs Rachelle Brisson Community Programs Intern

Opera Company of Philadelphia Robert B. Driver Artistic Director

Corrado Rovaris Music Director

David B. Devan

$10,000 to $19,999 The ARAMARK Charitable Fund at the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program Eugene Garfield Foundation GlaxoSmithKline The Hirsig Family Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation Morgan Stanley Foundation

Executive Director

Michael Bolton Director of Community Programs

$5,000 to $9,999 Silver Bridge Advisors Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation Matt Millone Community Programs Intern Special thanks to: Robert B. Driver Dr. Dennis W. Creedon Creator, Sounds of Learning™ Curriculum Consultant

Laura Jacoby Tullo Migliorini

The Opera Company of Philadelphia is supported by major grants from The William Penn Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and The Lenfest Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Independence Foundation and the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation. The Opera Company of Philadelphia receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

$1,000 to $4,999 Bank of New York Mellon Citizens Bank Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation Louis N. Cassett Foundation The McLean Contributionship Mutual Fire Foundation

EMI Records Maureen Lynch Operations Manager Academy of Music

Cornell Wood Head Usher Academy of Music

Academy of Music Ushers Debra Malinics Advertising Design Concept

Kalnin Graphics Printing

Center City Film and Video R. A. Friedman The Historical Society of Pennsylvania Free Library of Philadelphia Print and Picture Department

2010 2011

Opera Company of Philadelphia

OPERA at the Academy Otello

Romeo & Juliet


October 1, 3m, 6, 10m & 15

February 11, 13m, 16, 18 & 20m

April 29, May 1m, 4, 6 & 8m




OPERA @ the Perelman The Cunning Little Vixen


March 16, 18 & 20m

June 3, 5m, 8, 10 & 12m



* The Kimmel Center Presents Curtis Opera Theatre’s production in association with Opera Company of Philadelphia