Monday, May 5, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Tosca, mi fa dimenticare Iddio!"

That out and out rotter and perfect cad, Scarpia, to the heroine of the opera, Tosca. As evil as Scarpia is, he's perfectly cast when it's a sexy baritone. And here is my new Tosca poster, framed and hung at last.


willow said...

Oh classy, very classy, Blog Princess! Your "vazzze", candlesticks and cute little gargoyle all stylistically gel. Love it!

I once heard someone say you pronounce it "vaze" if it costs over $100, "vase" if under....tee hee...I've always thought that was funny.

Eliane said...

My favourite opera. I particularly love Scarpia's aria at the end of Act I. Definitely one of my Desert Island Discs

Blog Princess G said...

Willow ~ I always say it vahhhz because I'm English and funny that way. I often get told: "Hey, you have an accent!" and I go, "Wow, so do you!" Hee hee!

Eliane ~ the juxtaposition of the Te Deum in the church and the lustful monologue of Scarpia is just goose-pimple-inducing isn't it?

R.A.D. Stainforth said...

Ah, Tosca! My favourite of Puccini’s women. She is undoubtedly a forceful figure, but she still ends up dead (the means of her death are important, but surely not as important as the fact that she lies broken at the bottom of the Castel as the curtain falls). Tosca heroism and defiance are only really validated if we see death at the end of a tragedy as in some way redemptive or cathartic, a debateable point. And if she didn’t jump, she’d surely have been marched off by Spoletta to prison and thence to the gallows. My point is not that Tosca isn’t a strong figure but that in the masculine world of the opera where the men do the politics and a woman’s involvement in this realm leads to disaster (e.g. Margaret Thatcher), Tosca’s choices are invariably circumscribed. And I can’t be alone in finding the torture scene in Act Two a very disturbing episode. We are forced to identify primarily with Tosca’s reactions (interesting that Puccini gives the high Cs to Tosca rather than the one under torture, Cavaradossi) and the whole scene ratchets up the violence in a horribly masochistic fashion (piu forte, piu forte), one that bears out Scarpia’s deeply troubling alignment of sexual violence and power. The opera seems to take a curious pleasure in pushing Tosca over the edge, so to speak, in a way that it doesn’t quite with the men.

Oh, and of course it’s “varz”.

You like tomaydo, and I like tomarto ...

Blog Princess G said...

Signor Stainforte, what is Thatcher to do with Tosca? I'm glad Tosca makes her own end... but you bring up an interesting point. I love Puccini. Yet there is a strange sadistic fate for most of his heroines, especially the little, fragile onesm, which I guess is all of them except Turandot and Minnie. Only Minnie seems to have a happy ending, one in which she saves her man no less. The ending of Turandot is always maddeningly frustrating. The music is so glorious all the way through (trying to convince people there is more to the opera than one honking stadium aria), but T is such an arch-bitch with issues up the whazoo, the ending, coming so quickly on Liu's demise, is just not on. One day I'm sure there will be a really effective version. Have yet to hear the Berio version: apparently he tries to deal with her psychological issues/transformation but it sounds unsatisfactory.

Fanciulla... yes, now that's a charmer. The opera world is neatly divided on this one: I love it!