Sardou wrote the play La Tosca for Sarah Bernhardt in 1887. Puccini was drawn to the subject even while still at work on La Boheme (1896). Tosca came out in 1900 in Rome when Puccini was 41.
This opera in three acts is about Floria Tosca and Mario Cavaradossi are in love and all they want is to be left alone. Baron Scarpia, however, wants Floria for his physical needs. He arrests Mario for aiding a fugitive and tells Tosca she can save him by giving herself to him. She agrees, but the kiss he has so longed for is the fatal kiss of a knife blade. He had promised to set up a false execution for Mario, but the treachery of Scarpia is revealed as Mario is killed. Tosca vows to meet Scarpia in front of God as she leaps over the side of the building to her death.
This historic, mono version of Puccini's Tosca was recorded at the Teatro alla Scala in 1953, featuring soprano Maria Meneghini Callas and tenor Giuseppe Di Stefano and The Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala Opera House, Milan conducted by Victor De Sabata.
1. Acts I-III