Tosca, one of Puccini’s greatest and most popular operas, is a supreme example of music’s power to enthral the audience. In his introductory essay to this guide, Bernard Williams discusses the enduring quality of its appeal. Bernard Keeffe, in his article, analyses different aspects of the score, noting Puccini’s special genius for orchestration and the subtle effects that give the opera its irresistible vitality, while Stuart Woolf’s survey of the historical background reveals its political and nationalistic undertones.
Enriched by twenty-five archive photographs, a detailed thematic analysis, the original libretto with the facing literal translation and a section containing up-to-date discographical and bibliographical information, this guide will prove an invaluable companion for opera-goers and anyone wanting to delve deeper into the genesis, history and significance of Puccini’s work.
Manifest Artifice, Bernard Williams
The Music of Puccini’s Tosca, Bernard Keeffe
Historical Perspectives on Tosca, Stuart Woolf
Tosca: Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica after the play La Tosca by Victorien Sardou
Tosca: English translation by EMI Classics
For anyone with a keen interest in opera, whatever their level of knowledge, this series remains a benchmark of quality and clarity. The content is serious, reliable and trustworthy, handsomely put together, full of variety and scholarship but always making the practical experience of going to the opera a priority. I return to these volumes again and again and find the updated and new issues absolutely invaluable.
These guides, so beautiful to have and to behold, mark a huge advance on their predecessors. I find them essential supplements, not only to ENO and Royal Opera programmes, but to recordings issued on CD which often come without scholarly documentation and a libretto. The performance histories … are especially valuable, and not easily accessible elsewhere.
Beautifully produced and designed … they are terrific value.
The Daily Telegraph
Companionable – that's the first impression given by these … Overture Opera Guides
For everything you need to know, concisely packaged.
I am delighted to see the return of the ENO Opera Guides, bigger and even more authoritative than before. There are authoritative new articles as well as several of the irreplaceable originals, the presentation is very handsome and a decided gain is the brilliantly chosen selection of production images, in colour as well as black and white. The Guides are an invaluable reference for opera lovers at any level.
BBC Music Magazine
Neat little volumes they are, handy for carrying around, clearly printed and well set-out, complete with libretto and translation, discography and a generous selection of illustrations.
The first thing noticeable about these initial items in the revamped Opera Guides series … is how much more solid and attractive these volumes are compared with the old ones. Production values are up, with more appealing design, clearer print and much better paper, making these books altogether more shelf-worthy.
BBC Music Magazine
This uniformly excellent series is indispensable for the serious opera lover, all the more so now that almost all the CD companies have abandoned issuing a libretto with their opera releases, and have such scant background information. The English translations are on facing pages with the original texts, and in all respects the books are helpful and compact, and interestingly illustrated.
Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924) was born in Lucca into a family of musicians and composers. His operas, which include Tosca, La Bohème, Madama Butterfly and Turandot, are among the most frequently performed in the international repertory.