Tosca - Arena di Verona 2019




Rome, June 1800

A man secretly enters the Church of San Sant'Andrea della Valle. He is Cesare Angelotti, console of the fallen Roman Republic, arrested by the Papal authorities and just escaped from the prison of Castel Sant'Angelo. He hides in the family chapel, where his sister, the Marchesa Attavanti, has prepared a female disguise to facilitate his flight.

The sacristan arrives, grumbling. He is annoyed with the artist Mario Cavaradossi, who has given him the job of cleaning his brushes; he also dislikes the artist for his liberal pro-French ideas. When the Angelus rings, Cavaradossi arrives and continues to paint a portrait of Mary Magdalene, inspired by the face of an unknown woman seen in church on the previous days.

As soon as the sacristan leaves, Angelotti comes out of his hiding place; Cavaradossi barely recognises his friend, with whom he shares the same revolutionary ideas. After they have exchanged a few quick words, the unexpected arrival of Floria Tosca, the painter’s lover and a famous singer, compels the escapee to hide again.

Tosca is very jealous and suspects there is another woman. Cavaradossi reassures her, but her suspicions increase when, looking closely at the painting, she recognizes in the portrait of Mary Magdalene the face of the Marchesa Attavanti, whom she believes to be her rival, but who in fact had gone to the church, pretending to pray, to prepare her brother’s escape. He explains to her that he had used that woman as a model without knowing who she was and without her knowledge, and manages to calm the scene of jealousy by tenderly expressing his love. They arrange to meet that same night - after Tosca’s show – in the artist’s villa outside Rome.

Left alone with Angelotti, Cavaradossi offers to hide him on his farm and explains to him how to reach it. A cannon shot from Castel Sant'Angelo signals that the escape has been discovered. The painter decides to accompany his friend. The two leave rapidly.

The sacristan returns to the church. Followed by altar boys and choristers, he gives the news that Napoleon Bonaparte has suffered a defeat. Everybody shouts and laughs happily, but their enthusiasm is soon cut short by Baron Scarpia, the chief of police, who bursts into the church on the prisoner’s tracks. Well-known for his ferocity and dissoluteness, the inquisitor orders police agent Spoletta and the other men that arrive with him to inspect every corner.

In his hasty flight, Angelotti left several clues behind him, including a fan with the Attavanti family crest, which was part of his disguise.

The disclosures of the sacristan, who has never had a great liking for Cavaradossi, also convince Scarpia of the artist’s complicity.

When Tosca returns to the church looking for her lover, the chief of police shows her the fan, arousing her jealousy and suspicion. Certain at this point that Mario is betraying her with the Marchesa Attavanti, the woman rushes off furiously to the painter’s villa, convinced that she will take the two lovers by surprise. Scarpia orders Spoletta to follow her. Then, as the congregation sings a Te Deum for the victory over the French, he reveals his perverted plan: to possess Tosca and have her lover hung.



It’s evening. At Palazzo Farnese, Scarpia is eating dinner in his room, impatiently awaiting news of Angelotti. From the palace’s the echo can be heard of the celebrations for Napoleon’s defeat, during which Tosca will soon perform. The Baron asks gendarme Sciarrone to take a note to the singer, summoning her after the performance.

Spoletta enters. The agent reports that he followed Tosca and searched the villa, but didn’t find the escapee. However, he arrested Cavaradossi. The man is brought in and answers Scarpia's questions with a firm scornful attitude, denying any involvement in the prisoner’s escape. In the background, the voice of Tosca can be heard, taking part in the celebration’s singing. The interrogation becomes more aggressive, but Cavaradossi denies that he knows where Angelotti is hiding.

Tosca arrives. Cavaradossi urges her in a whisper not to say what she had seen at his villa.

While the painter is taken into the nearby torture chamber to be interrogated again, Tosca tries hard to remain calm and reply in a self-assured manner to Scarpia’s insidious questions. However, when she hears Mario screaming under torture, she no longer resists and reveals Angelotti’s hiding place.

Cavaradossi is brought back into Scarpia’s room, bleeding and unconscious. When he comes round, he realizes that Tosca has yielded and curses her. But then, hearing the news that Bonaparte has won the battle of Marengo, finds the strength to exult for the victory and shout in open contempt at Scarpia. He is immediately condemned to death and taken to prison.

At this point, Tosca tries to move the cruel chief of police to pity, even offering him some money. Scarpia brutally offers her the possibility of saving her lover’s life, if she gives in to his advances. She refuses, but when Spoletta arrives with the news that Angelotti has committed suicide and that everything is ready for Mario to go before the firing squad, gives in to his blackmail.

Scarpia leads her to believe that he has organized a fake shooting, with blanks in the rifles, but at the same time orders Spoletta to carry out a real execution. The woman asks for a safe-conduct to escape with Cavaradossi.

While Scarpia is busy signing the document, Tosca sees a knife on the table, grabs it and hides it. When the man tries to embrace her, she stabs him to death and, before running off with the safe-conduct, in a moment of Christian compassion, places two candles beside him and a crucifix on his chest.



On the roof of Castel Sant'Angelo. The pealing of Rome’s church bells and the melancholic song of a shepherd boy announce dawn. While awaiting his execution, Cavaradossi begins to write a farewell letter, which the prison guard, in exchange for a ring, has agreed to deliver to Tosca. After a few lines, he is overcome by tormenting memories and the thought of the sensual moments of love passed with his sweetheart. He prepares to face death with desperate awareness, when Tosca arrives, unexpectedly.

Agitated, she shows him the safe-conduct and then confesses to having killed Scarpia, informing him of the plot. She tells him that the shooting will be a fake and that, once the mock execution is over, they will be able to leave for Civitavecchia together. She also explains him how to behave: he will have to fall naturally, as if he really has been hit.

The firing squad finally arrives. Tosca implores Mario to feign well: he ensures her that he will fall “like Tosca at the theatre”. The execution takes place, Spoletta prevents him receiving a coup de grâce. But, when the firing squad leaves, Tosca realizes that Mario really has been killed and discovers Scarpia last treacherous trick.

Confused voices approach: the policemen have discovered the murder. Spoletta rushes towards Tosca to arrest her, but she rapidly reaches the battlements of the castle and jumps off, defying Scarpia “avanti a Dio!”.

Program and cast

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August 2019 Next

Verona Arena

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.



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  - 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
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

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