Giacomo Puccini's “Tosca,” which premiered in Rome in 1900, is one of the most popular operas in the repertory. Based on Victorien Sardou's play “La Tosca,” the enduring tale of love, lust, jealousy, and politics takes place in the specific setting and time of the Eternal City in June 1800, and draws on the historical events following the fall of the Roman republic.
“Tosca’s Prism,” a winner of the American Musicolgoical Society subvention grant in 2004, is published by Northeastern University Press. In this extraordinary collection, distinguished musicologists, historians, theater professionals, and luminaries of the operatic stage reflect on three diverse moments of European history—1800, 1900, 2000—through the refracting prism of Puccini's “Tosca,” providing multidimensional images of each period from a wide range of perspectives. It is a volume of essays on theoretical, musicological and historical subjects relating to Puccini’s opera, its history and cultural context, in celebration of “Tosca”’s centennial and the bicentennial of the actual events depicted in the opera.
Contributors to the book include world-renowned singers Giuseppe di Stefano and Magda Olivero, as well as scholars such as Eugen Weber, Julian Budden, Marcello Conati, Dieter Schickling and of course Professor Burton herself.
The book is based on an interdisciplinary conference held in Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera in 2000, conceptualized and organized by Professor Burton. The conference involved the support and participation of the American Academy in Rome, the University of Rome, the City of Rome, the U.S. State Department, and the Vatican.
The Napoleonic Legacy in Italy (Alexander Grab, University of Maine)
The Life and Times of Domenico Puccini (Herbert Handt, Lucca Music Association)
The Roman Republic of 1798–99 (Marina Formica, University of Rome 'Tor Vergata')
From One Tosca to Another (Eugen Weber, University of California at Los Angeles)
Victorien Sardou and the Legend of Marengo (William Laird Kleine-Ahlbrandt, Purdue University)
The Two Toscas (Julian Budden)
Fictional Reality: Musical and Literary Imagery in Sardou's and Puccini's Tosca (Dieter Schickling, Centro Studi Giacomo Puccini, Lucca)
The Political and Cultural Worlds of Puccini's Tosca: Anti-clericalism in Italy at the Turn of the Century (John Anthony Davis, University of Connecticut)
Tosca Act II and the Secret Identity of F# (Deborah Burton)
Guide-Themes and 'Reminiscences' in Puccini's Tosca (Marcello Conati, Verdi Institute)
'Ci sarà talamo guizzante gondola': New Sources for the History of the Tosca Libretto (Pier Giuseppe Gillio, Conservatory of Novara)
Puccini's Music in the Theoretical Italian Literature of its Day (Giorgio Sanguinetti, University of Rome 'Tor Vergata')
The Eternal Politics of Tosca (Susan Vandiver Nicassio)
Tosca: Bivalent Harmony and Vocal Calculations (Not Respected) (Alfredo Mandelli, Comitato per il Teatro de Lecco)
'Who is Tosca?': A Discussion among Modern Interpreters (William Weaver, Bard College; Magda Olivero; Giuseppe di Stefano; Luigi Squarzina, Universities of Bologna and Rome; and Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi, Teatro San Carlo)