Thomson Smillie’s series of Opera Explained audiobooks on individual operatic works is the perfect introduction for the would-be opera fan. Each title in the series runs about an hour, features plenty of recorded clips, and is narrated with pluck and good humor by David Timson. Your opera education starts here.
Giacamo Puccini, sometimes called "the master of melody", set his opera Tosca in Rome at the turn of the 19th century, when Napolean’s army was threatening to invade. The opera includes scenes of brutality, execution, and love, and is one of the most performed of all time.
Tosca is Puccini at the peak of his theatrical power. The story of the jealous, impassioned opera singer Floria Tosca and her doomed love for the painter Mario Cavaradossi is played out against backgrounds both historically and geographically overwhelming. It is set in three great and historical locations of Rome during the Napoleonic era. Spectacle, sensuality, and cruelty battle for our attention in one of the most truly "action-packed" works of theatre.
Enticing us with just a couple of the "great tunes" from this deeply affecting opera, David Timson then begins setting the biographical and operatic scene. The enduring popularity of Tosca is quickly understood - its appeal generated largely from exactly the same elements which once caused academics to brand it a "shabby little shocker". The master of melody is at his finest, as David Timson illustrates with characteristic enthusiasm.
©2002 Naxos AudioBooks (P)2002 Naxos AudioBooks
I thought I was just sitting down for an IPA at Cassell's in Los Angeles one afternoon, but wound up getting in a conversation with the bartender and a regular, who in about an hour taught me a lot of things I didn't know about jazz and opera (I'm a newbie at both). I had been studying Tosca as part of my one-per-month goal for 2016, and as I was leaving the bartender wrote down Thomson Smillie's name and recommended this recording. It is as good as he said, and I just bought the Smillie lecture for L'elisir d'amore for my next opera.
As expected from this series by r Smiley , excellent explanation and excerpts giving an overall superb Tosca explanation .
A background of Puccini's style and works is represented as well.
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