Tosca with Anna Netrebko

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August 2024
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Tosca: the most controversial and yet the most loved of Puccini's operas 

Back in the spring of 1889, Giacomo Puccini expressed to his publisher Ricordi his desire to tackle the then-popular French play La Tosca by Victorien Sardou for his next opera. The play had been written for the great Sarah Bernhardt, who played the part of Tosca in the première in Paris in November 1887, and whom Puccini saw perform the role in Milan in 1890 and again in Florence in 1895. 

It appears that for many years after his initial, fervent letter to Ricordi, Puccini shelved the idea of La Tosca as a suitable operatic subject. It was maybe due to the fact that for some time Puccini seriously doubted whether this melodrama suited him at all. 

Indeed, it was not until one year after he saw the play for the second time in Florence that he again became intrigued by the idea. By this time, however, a problem had arisen: Sardou had granted the rights to the play to Alberto Franchetti, a relatively minor composer and a nearly complete libretto had been written by Luigi Illica; also Verdi had given the work his stamp of approval. When Ricordi and Illica set out to dissuade him from the project, Franchetti surprisingly put up little resistance and Sardou actually seemed quite anxious to provide Puccini with a subject. The versification was entrusted to Giuseppe Giacosa, who was initially against the project, arguing that there was too much plot and too little room for lyrical expansion. On various occasions he threatened to withdraw from their partnership. He didn't however and by the beginning of 1898 Puccini had the entire libretto in his hands and was able to start work on the first act. 

With the aim of inserting authentic local flavour into his music, Puccini made a special journey to Rome especially to hear for himself the effect of the matins bells from the ramparts of the Castel Sant'Angelo (for the introduction in Act III) and to enlist the aid of a priest who could fill him in on details of the liturgy for the Te Deum that concludes Act I. The Roman poet and librarian Luigi Zanazzo, provided suitable verses for the pastoral song sung by the little shepherd at the beginning of Act III. Puccini made certain changes to the libretto before it was completed in 1899. For example he rejected an aria to be sung by Cavaradossi in Act II and insisted on choosing a lover's anguished lament built around the words 'Muoio disperato' to be sung by the painter while he awaits his execution. 
Back in the spring of 1889, Giacomo Puccini expressed to his publisher Ricordi his desire to tackle the then-popular French play La Tosca by Victorien Sardou for his next opera. The play had been written for the great Sarah Bernhardt, who played the part of Tosca in the première in Paris in November 1887, and whom Puccini saw perform the role in Milan in 1890 and again in Florence in 1895. 

It appears that for many years after his initial, fervent letter to Ricordi, Puccini shelved the idea of La Tosca as a suitable operatic subject. It was maybe due to the fact that for some time Puccini seriously doubted whether this melodrama suited him at all. 

Indeed, it was not until one year after he saw the play for the second time in Florence that he again became intrigued by the idea. By this time, however, a problem had arisen: Sardou had granted the rights to the play to Alberto Franchetti, a relatively minor composer and a nearly complete libretto had been written by Luigi Illica; also Verdi had given the work his stamp of approval. When Ricordi and Illica set out to dissuade him from the project, Franchetti surprisingly put up little resistance and Sardou actually seemed quite anxious to provide Puccini with a subject. The versification was entrusted to Giuseppe Giacosa, who was initially against the project, arguing that there was too much plot and too little room for lyrical expansion. On various occasions he threatened to withdraw from their partnership. He didn't however and by the beginning of 1898 Puccini had the entire libretto in his hands and was able to start work on the first act. 

With the aim of inserting authentic local flavour into his music, Puccini made a special journey to Rome especially to hear for himself the effect of the matins bells from the ramparts of the Castel Sant'Angelo (for the introduction in Act III) and to enlist the aid of a priest who could fill him in on details of the liturgy for the Te Deum that concludes Act I. The Roman poet and librarian Luigi Zanazzo, provided suitable verses for the pastoral song sung by the little shepherd at the beginning of Act III. Puccini made certain changes to the libretto before it was completed in 1899. For example he rejected an aria to be sung by Cavaradossi in Act II and insisted on choosing a lover's anguished lament built around the words 'Muoio disperato' to be sung by the painter while he awaits his execution. 

Program and cast

DIRETTORE

Francesco Ivan Ciampa

29 luglio 05, 10 agosto 01 settembre

REGIA, SCENE, COSTUMI, LUCI

Hugo de Ana

29 luglio 05, 10 agosto 01 settembre

FLORIA TOSCA

Aleksandra Kurzak

29 luglio

Sonya Yoncheva

05, 10 agosto

MARIO CAVARADOSSI

Roberto Alagna

29 luglio

Vittorio Grigòlo

05, 10 agosto

Freddie De Tommaso

01 settembre

IL BARONE SCARPIA

Luca Salsi

29 luglio 01 settembre

Roman Burdenko

05, 10 agosto

CESARE ANGELOTTI

Giorgi Manoshvili

29 luglio 05, 10 agosto 01 settembre

IL SAGRESTANO

Giulio Mastrototaro

29 luglio 05, 10 agosto 01 settembre

SPOLETTA

Carlo Bosi

29 luglio 05, 10 agosto 01 settembre

SCIARRONE

Nicolò Ceriani

29 luglio 05, 10 agosto 01 settembre

UN CARCERIERE

Dario Giorgelè

29 luglio 05, 10 agosto 01 settembre

Verona Arena

The seats categories by age, it is to highly recommend for older persons only the stalls/parterre/orchestra seats (platinum, gold, silvera, poltronissima and poltrona categories), the rest of the seats on the stairs are not easy to climb, the stone blocks are each of about 0,5m high, the old stone stairs aren not everwhere available, it can be really hard to reach the seats, the first lines, tribunes, not to mention the last levels. Opticaly the arena seems to be not extra big, actually it is quite huge, the capacity of the half of the arena today, adapted for the Arena Opera Festival is of: 15.000,00 spectators. It is about half of the space, the rest is taken for the stage set up. There are no seats behind the stage for view reasons.

 

1.*Explore more with the Verona Card!

 

Verona Card is your key to the city, unlocking its rich cultural heritage and helping you save!  

This combined ticket gives you savings on entrance to the main sights in the city, from the Arena to Juliet’s House, from Castelvecchio to the Museo Archeologico at the Teatro Romano.

There are two versions of the card available: a 24-hour card for €20 and a 48-hour card for €25. And that is not all: with the Verona Card, you can travel on buses in the city for free!

Let me show you some of the benefits of this card in more detail.

The following places offer free admission to Verona Card holders:

The Verona Arena,

The Arche Scaligere Tombs,

Basilica di Sant’Anastasia,

Basilica di San Zeno,

Juliet’s House,

San Fermo Church,

Verona Cathedral,

GAM Achille Forti modern art gallery,

Castelvecchio Museum,

Natural History Museum,

Juliet’s Tomb and frescoes museum and the Lamberti towers. 

The following places offer discounted admission to Verona Card holders:

Fondazione Museo Miniscalchi Erizzo

Museo Africano

Giardino Giusti

Further reductions:

Arena di Verona Opera Festival,

SIM Shakespeare Interactive Museum,

guided tours of the city centre,

the tourist train around the city centre,

CitySightseeing Verona,

Simonetta Bike Tours,

Saba Arena car park,

Adige Rafting.

Outside Verona: Museo Nicolis in Villafranca, Parco Sigurtà in Valeggio sul Mincio.

Important information:
- The Verona Card only gives admission to each museum/monument once.
- On the first Sunday of every month, from October to May, entrance to the public museums in Verona is just €1.
- The prices shown are subject to change, outside the control of the organisers.
- The Verona Card is non-refundable in the event of changes to the opening hours or the closure of the partner attractions, or in the event of a strike, public holiday or for other reasons, outside the control of the organisers.
- On buses run by ATV, the Verona Card must be validated by placing the card on the reader.
- The Verona Card is not valid on the Aerobus airport shuttle.
- The opening times of all of the listed attractions, in particular the Arena and churches, are subject to change for shows, services, special events and public holidays.

The Verona Arena (Arena di Verona) is a Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Bra in Verona, Italy built in 30 AD. It is still in use today and is internationally famous for the large-scale opera performances given there. It is one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind.

 

2. City Sightseeing® Verona*

 

City Sightseeing® Verona allows you to admire city walls, castles, barracks, landscapes and historical, cultural, military, folkloristic and culinary testimonies, of a city declared a World heritage site by UNESCO.

The City Sightseeing®Verona has two sightseeing tours, sharing the departure in Piazza Bra, the Arena Square, symbol of the city.

The Line A leads to the Garderns Pradaval, reaching the medieval walls and getting to the district of San Zeno, with its famous Basilica; it moves towards the Adige, getting to Castelvecchio and continuing towards the Porta dei Borsari, the Roman Theatre and the Stone Bridge, the eldest monument of the city.

The Line B concerns the eastern part of the city, before moving to one of the most beautiful overlooks, Castel San Pietro. It then goes down then the hill and enters the city's historic district, where you can admire the typical bell towers of the Cathedral of Saint Anastasia. From here you can reach Piazza Erbe and Piazza dei Signori, until you get to Juliet's House.

Amphitheatre

The building itself was built in AD 30 on a site which was then beyond the city walls. The ludi (shows and games) staged there were so famous that spectators came from many other places, often far away, to witness them. The amphitheatre could host more than 30,000 spectators in ancient times.

The round façade of the building was originally composed of white and pink limestone from Valpolicella, but after a major earthquake in 1117, which almost completely destroyed the structure's outer ring, except for the so-called "ala", the stone was quarried for re-use in other buildings. Nevertheless it impressed medieval visitors to the city, one of whom considered it to have been a labyrinth, without ingress or egress. Ciriaco d'Ancona was filled with admiration for the way it had been built and Giovanni Antonio Panteo's civic panegyric De laudibus veronae, 1483, remarked that it struck the viewer as a construction that was more than human.

 

Musical theatre

 

The first interventions to recover the arena's function as a theatre began during the Renaissance. Some operatic performances were later mounted in the building during the 1850s, owing to its outstanding acoustics.

And in 1913, operatic performances in the arena commenced in earnest due to the zeal and initiative of the Italian operatenor Giovanni Zenatello and the impresario Ottone Rovato. The first 20th-century operatic production at the arena, a staging of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida, took place on 10 August of that year, to mark the birth of Verdi 100 years before in 1813. Musical luminaries such as Puccini and Mascagni were in attendance. Since then, summer seasons of opera have been mounted continually at the arena, except in 1915–18 and 1940–45, when Europe was convulsed in war.

Nowadays, at least four productions (sometimes up to six) are mounted each year between June and August. During the winter months, the local opera and ballet companies perform at the L'Accademia Filarmonica.

Modern-day travellers are advised that admission tickets to sit on the arena's stone steps are much cheaper to buy than tickets giving access to the padded chairs available on lower levels. Candles are distributed to the audience and lit after sunset around the arena.

Every year over 500,000 people see productions of the popular operas in this arena.[3] Once capable of housing 20,000 patrons per performance (now limited to 15,000 because of safety reasons), the arena has featured many of world's most notable opera singers. In the post-World War II era, they have included Giuseppe Di Stefano, Maria Callas, Tito Gobbi and Renata Tebaldi among other names. A number of conductors have appeared there, too. The official arena shop has historical recordings made by some of them available for sale.

The opera productions in the Verona Arena had not used any microphones or loudspeakers until an electronic sound reinforcement system was installed in 2011.

 

How to reach Verona

 

By Car
Verona is easily reached by taking:
- the A4 Motorway SERENISSIMA, Milan-Venice, exit Verona Sud.
- or by taking the A22 Motorway Brennero-Modena, followed by the A4 Motorway Milan-Venice, direction Venice, exit Verona Sud.
Then follow the signs for all directions ('tutte le direzioni) followed by the signs for the city centre. 
Approximative distances from Verona by Motorways:
Vicenza km 51 Venezia km 114 Florence km 230 
Brescia km 68 Bologna km 142 Rome km 600 
Padova km 84 Bolzano km 157 Naples km 800 
Trento km 103 Milan km 161 

By Bus
The city centre is linked to the surrounding towns and villages, as well as Lake Garda, by a public transport bus service (the buses are blue in colour) which can be accessed at the bus station, situated directly opposite the train station (APTV Service). Click here for timetables and routes. 


By Train
The main railway station is VERONA PORTA NUOVA, which is the crossroads of both the Milan - Venice line and the Brennero - Rome line. 
There are direct trains and InterCity trains from all the main railway stations in the north of Italy throughout the day. 
Duration of trip : from Padua 40 minutes; from Vicenza 30 minutes; from Venice 1½ hours; from Milan 2 hours and from Rome 5 hours. 
City buses can be taken from the train station to the city centre and arrive in Piazza Bra, the central square where the Arena Amphitheatre is found. 
The Bus numbers are 11, 12, 13, 14, 72 and 73. 

By Plane
Verona's international Airport Catullo in Villafranca is situated approximately 10 km S-W of the city centre. 
There is a shuttle bus service to and from the airport approximately every 20 minutes from 06.10 to 23.30. 
The airport bus terminal is outside Porta Nuova Railway Station. 
Brescia Montichiari Airport which is situated approximately 52 kilometres from Verona, is also linked to Verona Porta Nuova Train station by a shuttle bus which runs approximately twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. Again the bus terminal is outside Porta Nuova Railway Station. 

 

Parking  nearby - Getting by car and parking next to the Arena
 

From highway A4 or A22 get the exit for Verona Sud.
Follow the signal “tutte le direzioni” (all directions) and then Verona city centre. 

Parking Arena 100m
Via M.Bentegodi,8 - Verona - 37122

Parking Arsenale
Piazza Arsenale,8 - Verona - 37126

Parking Isolo
Via Ponte Pignolo, 6/c - Verona - 37129

Parking Polo Zanotto
Viale Università,4 - Verona - 37129

There are plenty of restaurants and hotels next to the ancient amphitheatre.

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