Baritone, 4 Basses, Soprano, 2 Tenors
The opera is set in Rome in 1800, the year Napoleon invaded Italy. The painter Cavaradossi offers shelter to the escaped prisoner Angelotti, the former consul of the Roman Republic. The brutal and corrupt police chief, Baron Scarpia, has Cavaradossi arrested and tortured. Scarpia summons Cavaradossi’s lover – the great singer Floria Tosca – and exposes her to the sounds of lover’s cries of agony until she reveals Angelotti’s hiding place. Scarpia offers to spare Cavaradossi’s life by staging a mock execution, if Tosca gives herself to him. She agrees, but as soon as the arrangements have been made, she seizes a knife and kills her tormenter. But even in death Scarpia has fooled Tosca: at the ‘mock’ execution, Cavaradossi is shot dead. As news arrives that Scarpia’s murder has been discovered, Tosca throws herself to her death.