The Metropolitan Opera HD Live (2006–…): Season 2, Episode 7 - Puccini: La Bohème - full transcript

The perennial Puccini crowd-pleaser, with its tale of life and love among the Parisian artists of the 1840s, is brought to the big screen in the Met's famous production, originally conceived by Franco Zefirelli. We know the outcome even before the first act ends, but Puccini's music is so moving, so powerfully simple and direct, that it never fails. Puccini's genius sense of drama and emotion shines through in the final moments of the opera; where a lesser composer would likely end the story with the death of the heroine, a big "bang-crash" from the orchestra, Puccini does the opposite. He sustains the suspense for a few more minutes, ever so quietly, as he shows each of the surviving characters whispering and realizing, until Rodolfo, the last to see the truth, finally reacts. That is where the power of this opera comes from.




I'm Isabel Leonard,

and I'm delighted
to be your host

for today's performance of the
Met's sumptuous new production

of Puccini's "Tosca."

When the Met's general manager
Peter Gelb

commissioned director
David McVicar

and designer John Macfarlane

to create
a new "Tosca" for the Met,

he requested that
it be visually spectacular

and theatrically gripping.

As you will soon see, what
McVicar and Macfarlane achieved

was all of that and more,

not to mention
the thrilling cast

that will soon have
your pulses racing.

Soprano Sonya Yoncheva is Tosca,
the fiery diva.

Tenor Vittorio Grigolo

is the idealistic artist
Mario Cavaradossi.

And Baritone Zeljko Lucic
is Scarpia,

the contemptible
chief of police.

Their fates are forever linked
by passion, deceit, and revenge.

Welcome to Rome
in the Napoleonic era.

Today's conductor
is Emmanuel Villaume,

who is ready to go to the pit.

Here is the Met's new "Tosca."

[ Applause ]

[ Applause continues ]

[ Applause fades ]

[ Dramatic music plays ]

Here, at last! In my terror,
I saw police everywhere!

The holy water, the column....

"At the feet of the Madonna," my sister wrote.

Here is the key! And there is the chapel!

Always more paintbrushes to clean!

And they're dirtier than
the collar of a poor country priest!

Sir, is that you?

No, it's no one.

I thought I heard the painter Cavaradossi come back.

I was wrong.
His lunch hasn't been touched.

[ Bell tolling ]

The angel of the Lord declared...
Hail Mary, full of grace....

What are you doing?

Reciting the Angelus.

That's her! It's her portrait!


The woman who's been here
the past few mornings.

The one who's been praying so devoutly.

It's true.
She was engrossed in her prayers.

I painted her lovely face without her noticing me.

Away, you Satan! Away!

Hand me my paints.

Such mysterious harmony
between contrasting beauties!

My own darling Floria has dark hair.

Paint the heathens, but leave the saints alone!

And you, my unknown beauty,
are crowned with golden hair.

While your eyes are blue,
my Tosca's eyes are dark.

Paint the heathens,
but leave the saints alone!

Art, in its mysterious way,
has blended both beauties into one.

But no matter whom I paint... thoughts are of only one woman.

I have vowed my love only to you!

Tosca! Only you!

These damned rebels are enemies
of our royalist government.

But there's no use talking to them.

Mock the heathens, but leave the saints alone.

They'll never repent, not one of them.

It's best to just make the sign of the cross.

Sir, I'm leaving.

You didn't eat. Are you fasting?

–I'm not hungry.
–What a pity!

Lock the door when you leave.

It's you! Cavaradossi!
Heaven sent you to me!

You don't recognize me?
Has prison changed me so much?

The Consul of our defeated republic!

I escaped from the Castel Sant'Angelo.

Tell me what I can do.

Hide! It's my jealous sweetheart!

I'll send her away.

I'm so exhausted I can't stand.

Take this food and wine.

-♪ Presto ♪

-♪ Grazie ♪
-♪ Presto ♪

Mario! Mario!

I'm here.

–Why did you lock the door?
–The sacristan asked me to.

Who were you talking to?
I heard you whispering.

Where is she? I heard footsteps
and the rustle of her dress.

You're dreaming.

Do you deny it?

I love only you.

Not in front of the Madonna.

First let me pray to her and offer her flowers.

Listen...I'm performing tonight,
but it will end early.

Meet me, and we'll go to your villa
and be alone, all alone.

This evening?

There will be a full moon
and a night perfumed with flowers.

A night of ecstasy.

Aren't you pleased?


–Say it again!
–Very much!

You're not very convincing.

Don't you long for our little villa,
hidden in the woods?

Our secret nest, full of love and mystery.

Side by side, in the starry darkness...

...we'll hear all the voices of nature.

The woods, the brambles, the tall grasses...

...and the deserted graveyard,
fragrant with the scent of thyme.

Everything in the night murmurs of love.

It seduces every heart.

Let the fields burst into flower!

Let the mists mingle with the moonlit dawn!

Rain down, fiery stars!

Tosca is burning with love!

You've captured me, my siren!

Tosca's heart is burning with love!

My siren, I'll join you.

Oh, my love!

Now be on your way.

–Do I have to?
–I must return to my work.

I'm going.

-[ Gasps ]

Who is that blond woman?

Mary Magdalene.
Do you like her?

She's too pretty!

Such praise!

I've seen these blue eyes before.

The world is full of them.

Wait. I know her....

It's the Marchesa Attavanti!

You've met her?
Does she love you? Do you love her?

Those footsteps, that whispering!
She was just here!

I saw her yesterday, purely by chance.

She came here to pray,
and unnoticed, I painted her.

You swear?

I swear!

How her eyes stare at me!

–Come now....
–She's laughing at me.


Oh, those eyes....

What, in all the world, could compare
to your dark, burning eyes?

My whole life is bound up
in those eyes of yours.

Eyes so soft in love, so fierce in anger.

What, in all the world, could compare
to your dark eyes?

Oh, you know how to make me love you.

But paint her eyes...


My jealous darling....

Yes, I know I torture you.

My jealous one....

But I know you'll forgive me.

You'd forgive my jealousy
if you understood how much I suffer.

Tosca, my darling, I love everything about you.

Say those loving words
again and again. Reassure me.

My anxious darling,
I'll say these words forever....

Floria, I love you.

Set your uneasy heart at rest.

I'll say it forever: I love you!

We're forgetting we're in church!

And you've messed my hair.

Please, time to go.

Work here until tonight.

Promise me that no woman,
blond or dark, will come here to pray.

I swear it, my love. Now go.

What's the hurry?

Pardon me.

In front of the Madonna?

She's so forgiving.

But remember, make her eyes dark!

[ Applause ]

My Tosca is very devout.
She tells her confessor everything.

So it was safer to keep quiet.

–We're alone?
–Yes, what do you plan to do?

I must flee the country or hide here in Rome.

–My sister....
–The Marchesa Attavanti?

Yes, she hid women's clothes for me in the chapel.

A dress, veil, and fan.

When night falls, I'll leave in disguise.

Now I understand her guarded look
and fervent prayers.

I had suspected the young beauty
had a secret love.

Now I understand.

It was a sister's love!

She has risked everything
to save me from Scarpia.

That hypocrite! That lecher!

He hides his vile lust behind his false piety.

The confessor and the hangman are his agents.

Even if it costs me my life, I'll save you!

But it's too dangerous to wait until dark.

But now? In the daylight?

The chapel path leads to a garden.
Beyond it you'll find my villa.

–I know it.
–Here's the key.

I'll join you there by evening.
Take the clothes your sister left.

–Should I wear them?
–No, no one will see you now.

If you're in danger, go to the garden well.

Halfway down you'll find an opening
that leads to a small cave.

You'll be safe there.

The fortress cannon!

They've discovered your escape.

Scarpia will unleash his bloodhounds.

–I'll go with you.

The battle has begun!

Wonderful news, your Excellency!

Oh, he's gone. Too bad.

Whoever can irritate a heathen is doubly blessed!

Choirboys, listen!

Did you hear about that villain Bonaparte?

He's been crushed and sent to the devil!

We don't believe it!

It's true!

I just heard the news.

Let's celebrate!

There'll be a torchlight procession
tonight at the Farnese Palace.

And a new cantata, performed by Floria Tosca.

And in the churches, hymns to the Lord.

Go on now, get ready.

Double pay. Te Deum, Gloria! Long live the King!

Let's celebrate the victory!

Such an uproar in church?

Fine respect!

Your Excellency, we were celebrating....

Get ready for the Te Deum.

You! Take a few men
and search every corner.

Watch the doors.

But don't arouse suspicion.

And now for you.

Be careful how you answer.

A prisoner of the state has escaped
from the Castel Sant'Angelo.

–He hid here.
–Lord have mercy!

He may still be here.
Show us the Attavanti chapel.

Why, it's unlocked!

Someone must have another key!

That's a valuable clue.

Let's go.

Firing that cannon was a mistake.
The criminal has fled.

But he left behind a precious clue.

A fan!

So he had an accomplice in his escape.

The Marchesa Attavanti!
It's her coat of arms.

Her portrait! Who painted that?

Cavalier Cavaradossi.

Heavens! The basket!

He is Tosca's lover.
A political suspect, a rebel!

–It's empty!
–What is it? Speak up!

They found this basket in the chapel.

–You recognize it?

It belongs to the painter, but–

Tell me what you know.

I had left a delicious lunch in it for him.

Well, he ate it.

In the chapel? He had no key.

Besides, he wasn't hungry.
So I set it aside for myself.

(God help me!)


It's clear now.
The sacristan's lunch went to Angelotti.

Tosca! Now I'll reduce
a jealous woman to despair.

Iago used a handkerchief.
I have a fan!

The painter Cavaradossi disappeared, just like magic.

Did Mario deceive me?

No, he couldn't be unfaithful!

My divine Tosca, my hand awaits yours.

Not in courtship, but to offer you holy water.

You set a noble example for us.

Your singing makes the heavens resound.

And the religious fervor of your art revives our faith.

Devout women are rare.
Though the stage is your life... still come to church to pray.

What are you implying?

Not like some brazen women
who resemble Mary Magdalene...

...and come here to meet their lovers!

What proof do you have?

Is this fan a painter's tool?

Where did you get it?

It was there on that platform.

Someone disturbed the lovers.

As she fled, she dropped her fan.

This coat of arms belongs to that Attavanti woman!

Just as I suspected!

(My plan is working.)

And I was just coming to give him the sad news...

...that we've lost our night of love.

His devoted Tosca is a captive.

(My poison is already working.)

A captive of tonight's celebration.

(Yes, my plan is working.)

What's wrong, sweet lady?

A rebel tear is running down your lovely cheek.

What is it, dear lady?


I would give my life to dry that tear.

While I'm here weeping, he's in
another woman's arms, mocking me!

(The poison strikes!)

Where are they?
If I could catch them together....

To think that he shares his villa with two lovers.

The traitor!

My love nest, defiled!

I'll surprise them there!

You won't have him tonight! I swear it!

In church!

God will forgive me.

He sees that I'm weeping.

[ Bells tolling ]

Three men and a carriage. Hurry!
Follow her. Don't let her see you.

Very well.
Where shall we meet?

The Farnese Palace.

Go, Tosca!

Scarpia is now lodged in your heart!

Go, Tosca!

Scarpia has unleashed a falcon–your wild jealousy.

Your quick suspicion holds great promise.

Scarpia is now lodged in your heart.

Go, Tosca!

Our help is in the name of the Lord,
He who made heaven and earth.

I have two prizes in mind.

And the head of that rebel
is not the most precious one!

I want to see those flaming,
triumphant eyes of hers...

...soften as she trembles with love.

In my arms!

Both of them shall be mine.

Her lover, on the gallows.

And she, in my arms!

We praise Thee, O God.
We acknowledge Thee to be the Lord!

Tosca, you make me forget God!

Everlasting Father, all the earth doth worship Thee!

[ Music Ends ]

[ Cheers and applause ]

[ Applause continues ]

[ Applause continues ]

[ Orchestra tuning ]

[ Tuning continues ]

-At the end of the previous act,
Scarpia has declared

that he will bend Tosca
to his will.

Now we will see
what actually transpires.

[ Applause ]

[ Applause intensifies ]

[ Cheers and applause ]

[ Applause continues ]

[ Applause fades ]


Tosca makes a good falcon.

By now, my bloodhounds have
their fangs in our prey.

At dawn, Angelotti and Mario
will hang from the gallows!

[ Bell rings ]

Is Tosca at the palace?

They just sent for her.

It's getting late.

Our diva still hasn't arrived for her performance.

Meanwhile, they're scraping away at a gavotte.

Wait for Tosca at the entrance.

Tell her I expect her after the cantata.

Or better still....

Give her this note.

She'll come...

...for love of her Mario.

[ Chuckles ]

For love of her Mario,
she'll surrender to my desire.

Such are the miserable rewards of true love.

Violent conquest is far more exciting
than gentle consent.

I care nothing for sighs and milky, moonlit dawns.

I can't coax sweet chords from a guitar.

I can't make sheep's eyes,
or coo like a turtledove.

I lust!
Then I pursue the object of my desire.

I satisfy myself, throw her aside,
and turn to new conquests.

God created different beauties, different wines.

I want to taste as many divine creations as I can!

Spoletta is here.

Just in time.

How was the hunt?

(Help me, Saint Ignatius!)

We followed the lady to a villa
hidden in the woods.

She entered, then came out alone.

I climbed over the garden wall
and entered the house.

Good work, Spoletta!

I sniffed. I rummaged. I searched.

And Angelotti?

Not a trace!

Dog! Traitor! You'll hang!

–The painter was there.

He knows where Angelotti is hiding.

His mocking words gave him away.
So I arrested him.

That's better.

He's outside.

Bring the gentleman in.

And send in Roberti and the judge.

This is an outrage!

Sir, please be seated.

–Why am I here?
–Sit down.

I'm waiting.

You know that a prisoner...

Tosca's voice!

You know that a prisoner escaped
from the Castel Sant'Angelo.

You met him in the church and
gave him food and clothing.


Then you took him to your villa.

I deny it! Your proof?

A faithful subject.

The facts–who accuses me?

Your men searched my villa
and found no one.

That means he's well hidden.

The suspicions of your spy!

He laughed while we searched.

And I'm still laughing!

This is a place for tears!

Be careful!

Enough of this! You will talk!

Where is Angelotti?

I don't know.

You deny giving him food and
hiding him in your villa?

I deny it all!

It's foolish to be so stubborn.

A quick confession will save
you a great deal of pain.

I advise you to tell me.

Where is Angelotti?

I don't know.

For the last time, where is he?

I don't know.

(The noose is tightening.)

(Don't tell them anything or they'll kill me!)

Mario Cavaradossi,
the judge awaits your testimony.

The usual procedures first. I instruct.

Now let's talk like good friends.

Don't look so frightened.

I'm not frightened in the least.

What about that fan?

Just foolish jealousy.

The Attavanti woman wasn't at the villa?

No, he was alone.

You're quite sure of that?

Nothing escapes a jealous woman.
He was alone!


Alone, yes!

Such a fiery outburst!
As if you're afraid you'll reveal something.

Sciarrone, what does the gentleman say?


Let's insist!

It's useless.

That remains to be seen.

So we have to lie to please you?

The truth could shorten a very painful hour for him.

A painful hour? What do you mean?
What's going on in that room?

The law must be enforced.

Oh God! What are you doing to him?

Your lover is bound hand and foot,
with a spiked ring around his head.

With each denial it tightens,
ruthlessly drawing spurts of blood!

It's not true.
You're gloating, you demon!

Have mercy! Mercy!

–It's up to you to save him.
–All right! But put a stop to it now.

Sciarrone, loosen his bonds.



Now the truth.

Let me see him.

-♪ No ♪

-♪ Mario ♪

-♪ Tosca ♪

Are they still torturing you?

No, be brave. Say nothing!

I scoff at pain.

Now, Tosca, speak.

I don't know anything.

You haven't had enough?
Roberti, continue!

Monster! You're torturing him.

You'll kill him!

Your silence will torture him far more!

You laugh at his pain?

Tosca was never more tragic on the stage!

Open the door so she can hear him scream.

I defy you!

Harder! Harder!

I know nothing. Must I lie?

Where is Angelotti?

-♪ No, no, no, no ♪

–I can't bear it!
–Just tell me where he's hiding!

Stop torturing him!
No one can stand so much suffering!

I can't bear any more!

-♪ Ahimè ♪

Mario, will you let me speak?

♪ No, no ♪

I can't stand any more.

You fool! What do you know?
What could you tell them?

Silence him!

What have I ever done to you?

You're torturing me as well!

You're torturing my very soul.

Nothing will go unpunished on Judgment Day.

[ Screams ]

–In the garden well....
–Angelotti is there?

-♪ Si ♪

Enough, Roberti.

He's fainted.

You murderer!

I want to see him.

Bring him here.


–My love.
–Is it you?

How you've suffered, my darling.

But the good Lord will punish him.

Tosca, did you talk?

No, my love.

[ Thuds ]

In the garden well...get him!

You betrayed me! Damn you!

Baron, terrible news!

What now?

We've been defeated!

How? Where?

Bonaparte has won at Marengo!

–General Melas?
–Melas is retreating!


-♪ Vittoria! ♪

A new day has dawned!
Let the wicked tremble!

Freedom is reborn, and tyranny crumbles!

Mario, stop, I beg you!

I suffered your tortures, and still I rejoice!

Tremble Scarpia! A fine executioner!

Rage on!
Your insults only prove your guilt!

Go to the gallows! You're a dead man!

Mario, Mario! My love!

You stay!

Save him.

I...? You.

My poor dinner was interrupted.

Why so distraught?
Come, dear lady, sit down.

Together, let's try to find a way to save him.

Let's talk it over.

Meanwhile, have a sip.

A nice Spanish wine.

A little sip to cheer you.

How much?

Your price!

Yes, they say I can be bought.

But I won't sell myself to a beautiful woman.

Not for money.

No matter how beautiful,
money wouldn't suffice.

If I'm to betray my oath,
I want a richer reward.

I want a richer reward.

This is the moment I've been waiting for!

I was already consumed
by my love for you, my diva.

But just now, I saw you
as I've never seen you before.

Your tears ignited my passion.

And your blazing look of hatred
only inflamed my desire!

Lithe as a leopard, you clung to your lover.

In that moment, I swore you'd be mine!

Yes, I'll have you!

I'd rather kill myself!

Then I'll keep Mario as my hostage.

What a horrible bargain!

I'll do you no violence.

You're free. Leave.

But you hope in vain.

The queen won't be able to pardon a corpse.

[ Thumps ]

How you hate me!

Oh, God!

This is how I want you!

You won't touch me, you demon.
I despise you!

What's the difference?
Spasms of hate or spasms of love!

Help me!

[ Rhythmic drumming ]

Do you hear that?
The last call to the condemned men.

Time is short, and terrible work
is being done out there.

They're preparing the gallows!

Because of you,
your Mario has only an hour to live.

I have lived for art.

I have lived for love.

I have never harmed a living soul.

Whenever I saw misfortune,
I quietly offered help.

I was always sincere in my faith.

I prayed with true devotion at the holy tabernacles.

I gave flowers to place upon the altars.

Now in my hour of grief, Lord,
why do You repay me this way?

I gave my jewels to adorn the Madonna's robes.

I sang to the stars and
the heavens shone more brightly.

In my hour of grief, Lord,
why do You repay me this way?

Why do You repay me this way?

[ Cheers and applause ]

[ Applause continues ]

[ Applause continues ]

[ Applause continues ]

[ Applause continues ]

[ Applause continues ]

[ Applause continues ]

[ Applause fades ]


Must I beg?

Look...I hold out my hands to you!

I wait for one word of mercy from you.
Defeated, I wait....

You're too beautiful, Tosca, and too loving to resist.

My price is small.

While you ask for his life,
I ask only for a moment.

Get away! You disgust me!

[ Pounding on door ]

-[ Gasps ]

Angelotti killed himself
before we could take him.

Then hang his dead body
from the gallows!

–And the other one?

We're ready for him, sir.

God help me!



But I want him freed immediately!

I can't pardon him openly.

We must make it look as if he's dead.

This man will take care of it.

How can I trust you?

I'll give him his orders in your presence.

I've changed my mind.

Have the prisoner shot.

Just as we did with Count Palmieri.

A mock execution.
Just like Palmieri. Understand?

I want to tell Mario myself.

I'll give her a pass.

Remember at dawn....

Yes, just like Palmieri.

I've kept my promise.

Not yet.

I want safe conduct to leave the country with him.

You want to go away?

Yes, forever.

You'll have your wish.

[ Thumps ]

Which route will you take?

The shortest.



Tosca, at last you're mine!

That is Tosca's kiss!

Are you choking on your own blood?

–I'm dying!
–Yes, killed by a woman!

–Help me!
–After you've tortured me?

Can you still hear me? Look at's Tosca!

You're choking on the blood
of those you tortured.

Die, and be damned! Die!

-[ Choking, groaning ]

[ Exhales sharply ]

He's dead.

Now I forgive him.

And all Rome trembled before him.

[ Music ends ]

[ Applause ]

[ Applause ]

[ Applause fading ]

-At the end of the previous act,
Tosca has murdered Scarpia

and believes that she has saved
the life of her lover.

But there is more
than one final twist to come

in the plot
of Puccini's eternal tragedy.

Here is the conclusion of

[ Cheers and applause ]

[ Cheers and applause
intensify ]

[ Cheers and applause continue ]


I send you loving sighs.

So many, oh, so many.

As many as there are leaves.

All the leaves that rustle in the wind.

Yet you spurn me and I'm brokenhearted.

Oh, light of my life, I'd die for you.

[ Bell tolling ]

[ Bell tolling ]

[ Tolling continues ]

Mario Cavaradossi....

You have an hour.
A priest is here, if you want him.

No, but I have one last favor to ask.

I leave behind someone very dear to me.

Let me write a short note to her.

This ring is the only possession I have left.

If you promise to give her
my last farewell, it's yours.


How the stars would shine there!

And how sweet the earth smelled.

The garden gate would creak open.

And I would hear her footsteps on the path.

She'd enter, fragrant as a flower.

And fall into my arms.

Oh, sweet kisses, lingering caresses.

Trembling, I would slowly
uncover her dazzling beauty.

Now my dream of love has vanished forever.

My last hour has flown...

...and I die in despair!

Never have I loved life more!

[ Cheers and applause ]

[ Cheers and applause continue ]

[ Cheers and applause continue ]

[ Cheers and applause continue ]

[ Cheers and applause fade ]

"Safe conduct for Floria Tosca
and the gentleman accompanying her."

You're free!

-♪ Scarpia ♪

Scarpia, granting a pardon?

It would be his first merciful act.

And his last!

He demanded your life, or my love.
My pleas were useless.

In terror, I turned to the Virgin and the saints.

The monster said,
"The scaffold has already raised its arms to heaven!"

The drums were rolling,
and the monster was laughing!

He was ready to seize his victim.

"Will you be mine?"

I promised him I would yield to his lust.

Nearby, a knife blade glinted.

He wrote the letter of safe conduct.

Then he approached for that horrible embrace.

And I plunged the blade into his heart!

You killed him with your own hands?

You, so devout, so gentle?

My hands were soaked with his blood.

Sweet hands, so gentle and pure,
made for pious deeds...

...meant to caress children,
and to gather roses... clasp in prayer against misfortune.

Yet love made you strong.

And you wielded the sacred weapons of justice.

You killed! Oh, victorious hands!

Sweet hands, so gentle and innocent.

Listen, there's not much time.

I've gathered my gold and jewels,
and a carriage is waiting.

But first there's to be a firing squad with empty guns.

A fake execution.

When they shoot, fall down.
Then the soldiers will leave.

And we'll be saved!

We'll board a ship and escape by sea.


–Away by sea!

All grief is ended now.

Can't you smell the scent of the roses?

It's as though the whole world were in love,
and waiting for sunrise.

Facing death was a torment
only because of my love for you.

You give life its splendor, its joy and desire.

I see the very heavens blaze
and darken in your eyes.

You give every beautiful thing a voice and a color.

My love saved your life.

Now, that love shall be our guide.

It will make the world seem beautiful again.

Together, we'll travel across the globe...

...and disappear into the sunset,
like floating clouds.

Now remember, the moment they shoot,
you must fall at once.

I'll fall right away, just as you said.

Just be careful.

As an actress, I'd know how to do it.

Speak to me as you did before.

The sound of your voice is so sweet.

Our love will soar above the world
like a dazzling rainbow.

Triumphant, our souls will blaze with new hope.

We'll take to the heavens in harmonious flight.

Our souls will soar in the ecstasy of love.

I'll close your eyes with a thousand kisses.

And I'll call you by a thousand loving names.

[ Bell tolling ]

It's time.

I'm ready.

Remember, fall down at the first shot.

Don't get up until I call you.

And fall properly.

Like Tosca onstage!

–Don't laugh!
–Like this?

What a long wait!

What's keeping them?

It's almost dawn.

Why are they still delaying?

It's a farce. I know that.

Yet this agony seems endless.

They're ready now.

How handsome my Mario is!

Now, fall! What an actor!

Mario, don't move.

They're still leaving. Keep still.

Don't move yet.

Quick, get up, Mario.

♪ Mario! Mario! ♪

Dead! Dead! How could it end like this?

[ Men shout in distance ]

♪ Mario! Mario! ♪

Tosca, you'll pay for Scarpia's life!

With my own!

Scarpia! We will meet before God!

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[ Indistinct conversations ]

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-[ Laughs ]
-Thank you.

-Now I'm joined
by Floria Tosca herself,

soprano Sonya Yoncheva,

who is singing Tosca for the
very first time in her career.

Hello, Sonya.

-Hi, Isabel. Nice to see you.
-Hi. You, too.

Sonya, even though
you jumped into this production

on pretty short notice,

I know you've wanted to sing
this role for a very long time.

-What draws you to Tosca?

-I am fascinated by the music,
by -- by this woman.

And I always thought that

she's young, she's bold,
she's passionate.

She loves Cavaradossi --
that's why she's so jealous.

And -- And she's somehow
defending her love to the end.

That's why I wanted to do it.
-That's great.

How long, just out of curiosity,
did you start studying the role?

-Well, I should say, I --

I was already working on it
since long time,


-...I --
I was always interested in.

And, uh, of course when I got
the proposal from the Met,

I concentrated all my forces.

[ Both laugh ]
-Yep, as we do.

-So, yeah, yeah, as we do...
-Absolutely, yeah.

-...with the time we have --
you know how it is.

[ Laughs ]
-Of course, of course.

-But, yeah.

-Tosca has been sung by
some of opera's greatest divas,

from Callas to Caballé,

and interpreted
in many different ways.


-Now, what is the essence
for you in this role?

-The essence is that I am
bringing, um, all the --

how to say -- the musical --

the musical experience
to our generation today.

So I have huge responsibility
to say a new word

in this, uh, in this part,
if I can.

-That's wonderful.
That's really wonderful.

-Thank you.

Now, do you feel like the ghosts
of these legendary divas

are helping you along the way?

-Yes. And I love them.

[ Both laugh ]
-It's nice.

It's a good feeling.
-Yeah, yeah.

-Now, I'd like to you
to talk a little bit

about Tosca's character.

So, what aspects
of her personality

did you and the director,
David McVicar,

want to bring out?

-We really were concentrated

on bringing Tosca as a --
as a very young person.

This was our motto.

We wanted to have Tosca young...

-...and bold,
and, uh, and passionate,

and you know, always defending
her -- her word...

-...and, uh, just not be like --

We usually see Tosca very
arrogant, or selfish...

-...or narcissistic

or whatever
we can say about her.

-And I didn't agree with this,

and I was really happy
that David and me,

we were on the same wave.
[ Chuckles ]

-Yeah, that's the best.
-Yeah, that's the best.

-The best when that happens.
-It makes things easier.

[ Both laugh ]

Now, I know
you also seem to make a habit

of debuting some of the most
important soprano roles

on the daunting stage
of the Met.


-Here is your debut
as Mimi in "La Bohème,"

and your debut
as Desdemona in "Otello."

-You are very brave.

[ Both laugh ]
How do you do it?

-Well, I don't
think too much about it.

I -- What --
What I have in my mind

is that I love the Met,
I love the audience.

This stage is amazing.

The hall has the most perfect
acoustic, for me, for opera.

And, um --
And I pretty much enjoy it.

I like the team around me.

We're working so well together,

and, uh, it's so fun,
and serious and concentrated --

-It's a family.
-It's family, yeah.

-That's why I like to be here.

-Yeah. You have
a really intense act coming up.


-Your confrontation
with Scarpia.

-Can you quickly tell me

how you balance the vocal
and dramatic demands?

-Well, in the beginning,
I was thinking a lot.

Now I don't think anymore --

I just throw myself in,
and that's it.

-That's fabulous.
-Yeah. [ Laughs ]

-Now, it goes without saying
that you look stunning.

-Thank you.

-So, in bocca al lupo,
good luck. for your next act.

-Crepi il lupo.
Thank you.

[ Indistinct conversations ]

-We're with
tenor Vittorio Grigolo,

our irrepressible Cavaradossi.

Hi, Vittorio.

-Hi. Hi, Isabel.
-Hi. Hi.

Vittorio, it is hard to believe

that this is your first time
singing Cavaradossi.

I mean,
you're obviously relishing...

-It was the first time when we
sang "Werther" together, so...

-And I was covered in blood.

-[ Laughs ]
-So it looks like

we have always to speak
when I am full of blood,

and that's going to be --
-I'm in the wrong costume, then.

-Yes, you are, but you're never
in the wrong costume, so...

-What makes this such a good fit
for you, artistically?

-I -- Listen, uh, this is, uh,

this is something I was waiting
since a lot, lot, lot of time.

I mean, uh, Mario Cavaradossi --
it was a dream role.

I was -- I was a little shepherd
of 13 years old,

and, uh, Luciano was waiting
for me at the end of this role,

saying, oh...
-Luciano Pavarotti...

-Yes, waiting.
-...was your Cavaradossi.

-Yes, at that time --
-When you were 13?

-Yes, so I waiting there,
and he was saying,

"Bravo, bravo! One day,
you're going to sing the aria."

Now, 27 years later,
I'm here next to you,

and really soon, we're going to
sing this beautiful piece.

And, actually, I would like
to say to everybody --

it's an inspiration, because we
don't have to forget the senses.

We are
so technologically advanced...


-...but this aria
talks through the senses.

So he's really thinking about
everything he's going to lose.

-What does that mean?

-All the senses
he's going to lose.

-So the life, you know,

so the smell,
the -- the -- the view...

-...uh, the, the hearing --

everything he's going to lose,

and everything
is related to her.

-So, it's so, so big,

and, sometimes, love can be,
you know, very fast,

uh, but, uh...

-She's a lucky woman.
-Yeah, she's a lucky woman.

But like Einstein said,
the relativity of time --

is relativity of time.

Can be one hour,
but it could be like, uh --

that hour could be the most
amazing hour of your life.

-So, you have to tell me more
about Cavaradossi.

-Yes. Cavaradossi.
-What is the key for you?

-I mean, the key is, uh,
to think

there is a younger --

For the first time, actually,

David, uh, did --
did a great thing,

because he wanted to see --
I wanted to see Cavaradossi.

I wanted to see him young,
alive, passionate,

politically involved.

So when he sees the other guy,
he said,

"Yes, I'm going to help you.
It will cost my life,

but I would give you
all my energy, all my life,

but I'll save your ass."
-Yeah. [ Laughs ]

-You know, like, "I'm -- I'm
going to make it a statement."

[ Laughs ]
-So, I mean,

that was something incredible.
-That's right.

-And, I mean, Mario Cavaradossi
means also Rome --

it means also a lot of my...

-When I was a kid,
I lived, uh --

I lived maybe 15, 17 years
in Rome,

and I was passing with
the school there every day...


at Castel Sant'Angelo for real,

so now I'm...

-So you're home.
-I am home.

-You're home
in so many ways here.

-I am home, and I am home
here at the Met.

-Oh, yes.
-I mean, they are --

they are giving me
a lot of, uh --

they open me those doors,

and, uh, here has been, uh,
has been a wonderful time.

-Sonya said the same thing,
that this felt like a family.

Can you tell me a little bit

how you and Sonya developed
such a good rapport?

-But with Sonya, we had
a great, great, great adventure.

It begins, long,
many, many years ago,

when, I asked her,

and, uh, for she was,
uh, younger than me,

and I ask her, "You --

Would you like to join me
on a tour in Germany?"

We start the tour in Germany.
She was singing few arias.

And then I invited her
to have a duet with me,

a romantic hero album,

and then she flew away,
like, uh, diva-style.

So now she's here.

-That's amazing.
-She's here, and --

-Listen. You have
so much more work to do!

-No, no, it's okay.
-So thank you so much.

-It's just, uh, "Tosca" --

you know,
just a very simple part,

so don't worry about it.

-Thank you.
-We can talk.

-Thank you so much.
Vittorio, thank you.

-I love you.


-I'm joined now by our Scarpia,
baritone Zeljko Lucic.

-Thank you. Thank you.

-I have a question.

Now, unlike your two co-stars,

who are brand-new
to their roles,

you have sung Scarpia
many items.


So, how has this new production
shaped your portrayal?

Has it changed it in any way?

-Uh, actually, yes.

-Actually, yes.

Uh, uh, this is
the brand-new Scarpia...

-Uh-huh. I would say,
as I could say.

Uh, I mean, uh, you know,
this set, this production,

the costumes and everything...
-Mm-hmm.'s -- uh, let's say
the grand opera is back.

-We go back to '50s and '60s,

where the, you know,
golden age of the opera,

and now this is
really something fantastic.

-And as I said, uh,

I was enjoying
from the very beginning.

And, uh, this is, uh,

the best "Tosca" I ever --
uh, I ever did, really,

because, I mean, really...

-That's quite something.'re there,

because it's all original.

-You really have
not to improvise anything

or to do some stupid things,
and, uh, this is -- this is it.

-That's great.

Now, in the next act,
we will see

one of the most famous
confrontations in all of opera

between Scarpia and Tosca...

-...where they face off.

Tell me, what is -- what is it
like working with Sonya?

-Oh, fantastic.

-Oh, really. Oh, man.

Uh, well,
from the very beginning on,

as I said, really,
it was a great pleasure.

So when we step on the stage and
all that, it was even bigger.

And, you know, working
with Vittorio and with Sonya --

it's, uh, it's, you know,

it's pleasure and honor,
of course.

I know that this is
the first time for them to sing,

but they --
they did a great job.

-Very great, great job, great.

-They're fabulous.

Um, now, last one --
as a renowned singer

of some of Verdi's
greatest baritone roles,

what are the different vocal
demands of singing Puccini?

-Well, I have to be honest,.

Uh, I really have --

I don't make any --
any difference.

-That's great.

I really don't make any --

I sing, as I sing everything,

you know,
so, uh, nothing changed.

-That's fabulous.

I think that's great.
-Thank you.

-Listen, Zeljko, thank you
so much for speaking to me.

-You're very welcome.
Thank you.

It was my pleasure. Thanks.

-To conceive
the set and costume designs

for the new "Tosca" production,

John Macfarlane visited Rome
for some on-site research.

His expressive Roman sketches
were featured in an exhibition

in the Met's
in-house gallery space.

I recently visited the gallery

and spoke
with the distinguished designer.

-It's so wonderful
to be here in Gallery Met,

surrounded by
all of your amazing drawings

for this new production
of "Tosca."

-Thank you, Isabel.

It's lovely for me to be here,
as well, with you.

-So, we know
that Puccini's score

three real Roman locations...

-Yeah, true. the settings
for each of these acts --

The Church
of Sant'Andrea della Valle,

the Palazzo Farnese,

and the Castel Sant'Angelo.

How closely do your set designs
resemble these places?

-So, yes, it's as close
to site-specific as I can get.

But, obviously, when you've --

you're viewing it
through the proscenium...

-Mm-hmm. have to turn things
into different angles.

For example, the columns here

are absolutely the ones
in Sant'Andrea della Valle.


-It's, I think,
the only church in Rome

that has columns like this,
the gold fluting.

And the altarpiece is the chapel

that "Tosca"
is meant to take place in,

and the gate through
to the Attavanti Chapel.

But, of course, on-site,
this would be the nave,

and the chapels
would all go this way,

with altars here.

-So, you can be site-specific,
but you have to move it around.

The -- The, um --
Castel Sant'Angelo --

we have pretty well re-created
the top deck and the angel,

because, actually,
when you go there,

you wonder why anybody tried
to do anything smart with it,

because it's so spectacular.

And the spectacular thing
about it, of course,

is that you are seeing the whole
of Rome from that -- that venue.

-How important is a model, uh,
for developing the steps

from the initial design, then,
into a completed set?

-Oh, it's --
it's, uh, absolutely critical.

-And you...

People always say to you,

on long-haul flights
to California --

you're, uh, always beside
somebody who says,

"Can't you do your work
on a computer?"

And you absolutely -- I would
say you absolutely can't.

-And you have to produce this

so that you can get every --
see every angle.

And it has to be built
really exactly,

because this is what

the company does all
the construction drafting from.

-So, all these moldings

are then taken from the model
and drafted.


-And then, the next time
I see it, they're in build.

-Now, as our audience
have already seen

from your other productions,

your costumes
are also spectacular.

So, what is your inspiration
for those?

-In the end, I think,

because of the site-specific
and the libretto,

we opted for setting it when
it's sort of supposed to be set,

which is 1800.

And it's a great costume period.

I mean, it's a period that --
that has very strict rules

as to form and shape.

But then,
once you've established these,

you can actually enjoy playing.

The only thing with "Tosca"

is that you use up
about 85% of your costume budget

in about seven minutes'
of stage time.

-[ Chuckling ] My goodness.

Well, I have
one last quick question.

In -- With all that in mind,
the -- the last decade,

we've done so many
of these HD productions.


-And some of the first
HD productions were new,

and some were not.

-Do you now take that
into consideration

when you are asked,
and do you think...

-Mm. - know, visually,

about the camera angles
and all those things, as well?

-Well, not so much
camera angles.

I mean, I've always been

a kind of pedantically detailed

That's okay.

-So, HD, for me,
is the most glorious gift.

-Because, for years,

people in workshop would --
would say to you,

"I've spent hours on that piece
of costume front or jewelry,

and nobody's going to see it."

And now...
-Now everybody sees it.

-No, and now you really are --
you are caring what is written

on the -- the paperwork
on Scarpia's table.

-And, you know,

you have to care
about every detail.

-John, your work here
in this gallery

and on the stage of the Met
is absolutely stunning.

So, thank you so much
for talking to me.

And a huge congratulations

for your new production
of "Tosca"

and this wonderful exhibition.

-Thank you very much.

It's been such a pleasure
talking to you.


-I am very excited to speak
with Donald Palumbo,

the Met's Chorus Master.

Hi, Donald. Hi.
-Hi. [ Chuckles ]

-Donald, how do you get
the chorus

to sound so rich and powerful

during the "Te Deum"
we just heard?

-Well, I think Puccini
did most of the work.

As you see,
we come at -- at a moment

where almost
the entire orchestra drops out,

and all we have

is the brass, Scarpia,
and the chorus singing unison.

-It's just stunning.

-It's not like
it's very complex writing.


-But it's
such an amazing moment,

coming at the end
of the dramatic swells

of the rest of the act.

-It's -- It stops your heart.
-Yeah, it really does.

And, again --

and it's the simplicity
is what makes it work.

It is so powerful.

-Oh, they've performed "Tosca"
so often,

so what do you do
to help keep it fresh?

-I think it's easy to stay fresh
with "Tosca,"

because it's one
of those operas that,

every moment onstage,

something is happening

no really rigid structure,

as far as meter that
just keeps going bar to bar.

Everything is flexible.

-Does the new production help?
-That certainly helps.

-You know,

every time we are confronted
with new staging,

I think it brings
new personality into the chorus.

-So, uh, we love doing "Tosca."

-Well, listen,
the Metropolitan Opera Chorus

is the best in the business.
-Thank you, Isabel.

-So thank you so much
for talking to me.

-Thank you so much.