Music: Giacomo Puccini
Adapted from Victorien Sardou's drama
Concept by: Mauro Pagano
Angelotti / Carceriere
Sacrestano / Sciarrone
Captain Carter / SS captain
Robert A. Rossi
With: Piero Jocer
A powerful new show based entirely on Puccini’s Tosca as performed inside the Buchenwald concentration camp in march 1945: one month prior to the self liberation of the prisoners and the arrival of the American troupes.
It is a piece of fiction, but its premises are such that it could have very likely been reality. It is common knowledge, that the SS were known to force prisoners in performances for the entertainment of the German soldiers and officials.
In BUCHENWALD TOSCA the story begins with American
Captain Carter dictating to his secretary that Ike will not believe his
eyes upon receiving the footage filmed inside Buchenwald. A short clip
is shown as if it were previewed before shipping while Carter goes on
telling Ike about a tale he’s heard from many survivors.
After this brief introduction, the opera begins with
the Jewish performers in prison suits, and a small German audience
including Colonel Heinsel, his attendant, the camps leader and his wife
and a couple of German civilians, two guards and and third one with a
dog who regularly passes along the back of the theatre.
Tosca is the anti-diva who will fight for her freedom and that of Cavaradossi, both in Puccini’s story and in the camp’s life as they enjoy their last few hours before being killed during and at the end of the production.
Cavaradossi is the rebel who defies the Germans and is beaten nearly to death before getting shot by Heinsel after the fictitious shooting in the opera.
Scarpia, not a Jew but a communist, believes to be somewhat special in the eyes of the Germans and thinks he will be spared, but his fate is the same as for the others.
Sacrestano is played by a crazed prisoner who has no idea of what is really going on, and performs his role as he would in a great opera house outside this horror.
Spoletta carries his score on stage because he’s a young actor who never learned the part and is forced to perform, frightened to be executed earlier than his time if he makes a mistake.
Angelotti is also terrified at the beginning, but thanks to Cavaradossi’s example seems to become more inspired and determined throughout the story.
In the end, Tosca jumps and, in a last attempt to vindicate her lover’s killing by reaching out in rage against the Germans, is shot dead by a machine gun which kills the orchestra director in the process.
As Heinsel applauds for the success of his plan, the rest of the musicians and the chorus are left horrified and astonished, probably lighting the spark of the rebellion which would lead to the liberation of the camp.
This is the final message that is conveyed - “The show in march, in April the liberation”