Cavaradossi, Mario

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(Puccini: Tosca). Ten. A painter and republican sympathizer in love with Tosca. While he is in the church of Sant’ Andrea painting a picture of the Madonna, Angelotti emerges from one of the side‐chapels. He is an escaped political prisoner and if caught will be executed by Baron Scarpia's men. Cavaradossi gives him food and suggests he hide in a well in the garden of his villa, where he will come to him later. Tosca arrives to visit her lover and scolds him for making the Madonna look like the Marchese Attavanti (sister of Angelotti), of whom she is needlessly jealous. He reassures her and she leaves. The old Sacristan enters and announces the defeat of Napoleon—to celebrate victory, a Te Deum will be sung in the church and Tosca will sing that evening at Baron Scarpia's residence, the Farnese Palace. Scarpia has Cavaradossi arrested for aiding a political prisoner. Tosca is brought to Scarpia's apartments to witness her lover's torture. Cavaradossi begs her to say nothing of Angelotti's whereabouts and his torture continues. In the last hour before his planned execution, he is allowed to write to Tosca, and as he does so she appears. She tells him that his execution will only be a mock affair—Scarpia has promised them a safe passage from Rome. Guessing that she must have promised herself to Scarpia in return for this favour, Cavaradossi is distraught, until Tosca tells him she has killed Scarpia and they will be able to escape, but first he must pretend to fall as he is shot and he must lie perfectly still. As soon as the firing‐squad departs Tosca will tell him and they can leave. They discuss how he will fall in a realistic manner and will not move until she says so. The firing‐squad march in, line up, and shoot. Cavaradossi falls and the soldiers depart. Tosca rushes to his side—but Cavaradossi is dead. Arias: Recondita armonia (‘Oh hidden harmony’); E lucevan le stelle (‘And the stars were shining’); duet (with Tosca): O dolce mani (‘O sweet hands’). Created (1900) by Emilio de Marchi (a fragment of whose performance at the NY Met in 1903 has been preserved on a Mapleson cylinder). This is one of Puccini's most lyrical and popular tenor roles. Among those notable in the part since its creation have been Fernando de Lucia, Jan Kiepura, Alfred Piccaver, Beniamino Gigli, Helge Roswaenge, Giuseppe di Stefano, Jussi Björling, Ferruccio Tagliavini, Mario del Monaco, Carlo Bergonzi, Franco Corelli, Giuseppe Giacomini, Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Franco Bonisolli, and Luciano Pavarotti.

Subjects: Opera.

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