Tosca: A Beginner’s Guide – Act II

Scarpia_28. Scarpia’s apartment

The curtain rises on Act II, and Scarpia’s posh apartment. He’s requested that Tosca join him, and we find out that he’s managed to capture Cavaradossi but not Angelotti. As Cavaradossi is questioned, he hears the voice of Tosca in the next room. Unsurprisingly, he claims to know nothing about Angelotti, so he is taken into another room to be tortured – but Tosca catches sight of him before it happens and he tells her to keep schtum about Angelotti.

 

Scarpia_39. Scarpia makes a deal

Scarpia makes a deal with Tosca. If she tells him where Angelotti is, he’ll stop torturing Cavaradossi. What a pickle! She hears her lover’s screams from the next room and ends up telling Scarpia that Angelotti is still down a well in Cavaradossi’s garden. What a cave-in! The torture ends and the knackered painter comes back only to discover Tosca’s betrayal, which makes him rather angry.

 

Cavaradossi_210. Cavaradossi is dragged away

A policeman, Sciarrone, enters and lets everyone know that, contrary to earlier reports, Napoleon has actually won the battle at Marengo. Cavaradossi then has a bit of a gloat about it to Scarpia, claiming that his days are numbered, before being dragged off kicking and screaming.

 

Tosca_211. One More Chance?

Scarpia just can’t let it lie, though, and proposes another bargain with Tosca. If she lets him shack up with her, Cavaradossi will be set free. She doesn’t react well, and is disgusted with him. Hearing the drums outside that signal Cavaradossi’s impending execution, Tosca sings: ‘Vissi D’Arte’, in which she laments her situation and asks God for intervention.

 

Cavaradossi_Tosca_212. A plan

News arrives that Angelotti has killed himself. Everything is ready for Cavaradossi’s execution, so Tosca finally agrees to Scarpia’s demands. Scarpia arranges for the execution to be faked. But Tosca has another idea – she demands that Scarpia arranges a safe escape for her and her lover, and gets him to sign a document to prove it.

 

Tosca_Scarpia13. Scarpia’s demise

With the document signed and the object of his affection finally his, Scarpia grabs Tosca in an embrace. However, she’s not having any of it and fatally stabs him. She then says that she forgives him (which is perhaps not the most apposite time to mention it), lights a candle, places a crucifix on his body and then leaves. As exits go, it’s pretty good.

 

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