|Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
|Rome, January 14, 1900
Flamboyant Tosca opens in a church, where the artist Cavaradossi paints a Mary Magdalen portrait while dreaming of his lover, Tosca, a famously passionate yet devout singer. Suddenly the escaped political prisoner Angelotti staggers in, on the run from the savage police chief Scarpia. When Tosca arrives and overhears the two men talking, she is devoured with suspicion that Cavaradossi has another lover, but the painter soothes her and hides Angelotti. The angry Scarpia bursts in, hot on the escapee's heels and burning with lust for Tosca. Sizing up the situation, he schemes to make the jealous singer betray her lover's secret. Cavaradossi is arrested and brutally tortured, blackmailing Tosca into revealing Angelotti's whereabouts. As the artist is dragged to the scaffold, Scarpia demands Tosca's favors as payment for her lover's life, but the agonized Tosca meets his embrace with a fatal knife thrust. Joyfully, she goes to free Cavaradossi, but Scarpia's final cruel ruse leads her instead to witness her lover's execution. As the police pursue her, Tosca throws herself from a parapet to her death.