Mario Cavaradossi (Roberto Alagna) makes the mistake of telling his girlfriend Tosca (Angela Gheorghiu) that he’s hidden a political prisoner in his villa. Tosca sings for policeman Scarpia, who promises to free Mario if she promises to sleep with him. Tosca murders the officer soon after he vows to fake Mario’s execution. Scarpia’s promises mean little after his death—Mario is executed and a tormented Tosca jumps to her death. This is Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, adapted to film by Benoit Jacquot as a gorgeous-looking if not wholly purposeless theater performance. Though Romain Winding’s cinematography is certainly luxuriant, Jacquot makes very little use of the camera past the occasional overhead shot that seeks to the break the monotony of the theatrical mise-en-scène. This is a relatively conflicted production. The performances are incredible, as is the music conducted by Antonio Pappano. The lighting of the Castel Saint’Angelo set is remarkable enough to suggest an actual terrace-roof yet Jacquot seems fearful of ever taking the opera outside. An exterior transitional element that links the film’s second and third acts is indicative of the film’s unfulfilled promise. Though the opera itself takes place mostly indoors, Jacquot seems unsure of how to evoke any sort of naturalism on the set. The director’s frequent cutaways to sepia-toned exterior forestscapes and to the singers recording the film’s soundtrack inside a recording studio only reinforce the film’s theatricality.
- Benoit Jacquot
- Benoit Jacquot
- Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna, Ruggero Raimondi, David Cangelosi, Sorin Coliban, Enrico Fissore, Gwynne Howell, James Savage-Hanford
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