World Premiere  November 2019

The reaction hastes from victory to victory. After the defeat of the French revolutionary army by the English in the Battle of the Nile, Napoleon must return to Paris. In Northern Italy, the great coalition between Austria and Russia has broken apart the French-dominated republics and helped the monarchy gain victory. In the Battle of Marengo, it seems that another glorious victory will be won against Napoleon’s troops. Celebrations are in order. The queen invites the most prominent state artist, the singer Tosca, to a grand banquet, with a premiere as a special treat for her guests. That very evening, the painter Cavaradossi, who is Tosca’s lover, is hiding an escaped revolutionary. Scarpia, the Regent of Police, is putting everything on the line to catch the escapee quickly.

His search for the escaped Angelotti leads to Cavaradossi, and to find him, he needs Tosca. All personal and erotic relationships successively fall victim to the policeman’s simple logical deduction. They are poisoned by lies, mistrust and scheming, just as art – the “guileless” kind, oriented towards “beauty and love” and the kind that serves resistive, exalted political purposes – is poisoned by their instrumentalisation. Tosca is a thriller that roars from one climax to the next at high narrative speed. It is full of strong emotions, dastardly intrigues and hidden doors behind which lurk treachery, sex and death. Author Kata Wéber and director Kornél Mundruczó, both from Budapest, adapted Sardou’s successful play (which Puccini had turned into a libretto) for the Akademietheater. For them, Tosca is a drama about art and artists in an atmosphere of political repression and “the essence of my experiences during the past ten years” (Mundruczó).