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Tosca (2001)

Not Rated | | Musical, Drama | 14 November 2001 (France)
Benoit Jacquot reinvents the way we view opera in this magnificent production of Puccini's story of Tosca's love for the painter Cavaradossi and the intervention of Scarpia.


Benoît Jacquot


Luigi Illica (libretto), Giuseppe Giacosa (libretto) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Gheorghiu ... Floria Tosca
Roberto Alagna Roberto Alagna ... Mario Cavaradossi
Ruggero Raimondi ... Il barone Vittelio Scarpia
David Cangelosi David Cangelosi ... Spoletta
Sorin Coliban Sorin Coliban ... Sciarrone
Enrico Fissore Enrico Fissore ... Sagrestano
Maurizio Muraro Maurizio Muraro ... Cesare Angelotti
Gwynne Howell Gwynne Howell ... Il carceriere
James Savage-Hanford James Savage-Hanford ... Un pastore
Karl-Heinz Rogosch Karl-Heinz Rogosch ... Tax judge
Bernd Selle Bernd Selle ... Roberti
Antonio Agliuzzi Antonio Agliuzzi ... Henchman
Oktay Ovali Oktay Ovali ... Henchman
Roger Claas Roger Claas ... Henchman
Florian Schulz Florian Schulz ... Soldier


Benoit Jacquot reinvents the way we view opera in this magnificent production of Puccini's story of Tosca's love for the painter Cavaradossi and the intervention of Scarpia.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Musical | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »



Italy | France | UK | Germany



Release Date:

14 November 2001 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Tosca de Giacomo Puccini See more »


Box Office


FRF 53,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,409, 28 March 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$63,751, 30 March 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital EX
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Version of Tosca (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

Hot & Spicy, Erotic & Creamy
21 December 2002 | by se7en45See all my reviews

My initial reaction to this movie was negative. It took me a while to get used to the technique of showing the singers, musicians and the conductor and then rapidly splicing footage of the singers performing in costume on the set of the opera. However, I think this experiment gradually begins to weave a spell over the audience (consider what Lawrence Olivier did with his film of "HENRY V"). The artificial world of theatre and opera explodes into a reality filled with excitement and vitality.

The orchestra bursts into a throbbing overture that hints at the turmoil that bubbles at the tragic heart of Puccini's opera. Antonio Pappano conducts like a man possessed, he fights and wrestles the score to fiery heights and the music rises with a sweaty passion.

Roberto Alagna sings and acts the role of Cavaradossi with enough conviction, although Placido Domingo did an electrifying job for Giofranco De Bosio in the 1976 movie. Alagna may not have the acting ability of Domingo but he certainly more than makes up for it in the singing department. His natural charisma also shines through in the close-ups that are used frequently to heighten psychological tension.

Ruggero Raimondi plays the part of Scarpia with venom and overtones of violent malice. At times he almost resembles a rapist stalking his next victim. There are shades of his magnificent portrayal of the decadent Don Giovanni (remember the Joseph Losey film?), for example, when he's at the dinner table we see Scarpia admiring his own smirking reflection in the glinting knife. His aria, in this scene, is about how he devours women until his appetite is sated. He proudly boasts about his varied taste in differnt kinds of females and the whole aria is very sinister and disturbing. His acting is splendid and his singing voice is still virile and strong.

Tosca, sung and acted by the earthy Angela Gheorghiu, is first seen as almost bloodless. She is wearing a pale yellow dress and there's no trace of make-up on her anxious face. We can see insecurity and jealousy lined in her face and eyes. She peeks around like a hunted animal which has lost the will to live. This is the way Puccini wrote the part for his heroine and this superb singer delivers a haunting performance. In the latter sections of the opera we see her in a blood-red dress that swirls behind her like a crimson river. Now her eyes are raging black coals that glint with fire and her ruby lips shine with lust. Her cheeks are creamy and flushed and her heaving breast indicates the trembling fear that courses through her lascivious body. Her scene with Scarpia is erotic, the fire leaps and strange shadows dance around the claustrophobic room. This whole scene is extremely erotic, there is a definite sexual spark between the snake-like Scarpia and the radiant sexiness of Tosca. Her voice is tinged with a smouldering huskiness.

The climax, on the top of the gothic castle is beautifully lit, Tosca's red dress still glows and her face has a hue of cold blue (the lighting in this section would please fans who enjoy the works of Mario Bava or Dario Argento). This time we see the tragic frailty in Tosca's eyes, there are hints of suspicion and fear and the close-ups, once again, are very effective in conveying her emotional state.

This film is a very good example of opera being translated over into Art House Cinemas and the experiment of inter-cutting footage of singers in the theatre and the film sets is by-and-large successful and will bear repeated viewings. One hopes more adaptations will follow and thus allow opera the freedom to reach new venues.

Seek out this pulsating film and allow your emotions to run riot with passion and excitement.

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