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Pappano's Essential Tosca

A new documentary, presented by the Music Director at the Royal Opera House, explores Puccini's great opera.

By Ellen West (Head of Online Content)

19 December 2011 at 6.20pm | 17 Comments

Showing on BBC Two at 1.35pm on Christmas Eve, Pappano’s Essential Tosca follows the acclaimed Opera Italia series, shown on BBC Four last year.

In Essential Tosca, Antonio Pappano explores the ravishing and gut-wrenching music of Puccini’s Tosca and the importance of Rome in the opera. Antonio takes us through the work, both at the piano and in rehearsal with the stars of the Royal Opera House’s recent production of Tosca, which is shown on BBC Two immediately after the documentary.  The ROH cast includes Angela Gheorghiu as Floria Tosca, Bryn Terfel as Baron Scarpia and tenor Jonas Kaufmann as Cavaradossi.

Pappano’s Essential Tosca is the perfect introduction to the opera for those who haven’t seen it but should also offer new insights to those familiar with the great work. You can watch an extended preview here:

If this gives you a taste for Maestro Pappano’s work you can watch a recent Insights event he recorded about Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg earlier this month, filmed in front of an audience at the Royal Opera House

Antonio Pappano is conducting Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Royal Opera House until 8 January 2012. Find details of forthcoming Insights events on the ROH website.

This article has 17 comments

  1. This reminds me of my first meetings with Tony, it was in the 1980 when I was president of the Operaklubben at The Norwehian National Opera in Oslo, Inga Nielsen, the wonderful world famouse soprano came and should sing, and Tony was her favourite conductor and he conducted, several wonderful productions in Oslo with Inga Nielsen in the main roprano role. It was like a fairytale. Meeting Inga and Tony, two young sweet musical artists At that tome we didnt know that Tony should be world famous, but we noticed his very great musical talents, and also how nice a person he is.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you and specially to Tony for this great introduction.
    Henning Høholt

  2. Toshikazu Washimi responded on 24 December 2011 at 11:37am Reply

    I wish I could watch this performance somehow. Why don't you bring this to Tokyo as last year's visit.
    My first TOSCA is Maestro Pappano's Film version with Angela Gheorghiu and Robert Alagna. While I was in London between 2004 to 2006, I had no chance to see this production.
    Looking forward to be released on DVD or back to see at ROH.

  3. Nigel Ewers responded on 24 December 2011 at 12:35pm Reply

    Fabulosum

  4. WIMA GUILD responded on 24 December 2011 at 3:09pm Reply

    iN AUGUST I AM TO SEE THIS OPERA LIVE IN THE FRONT ROW IN VERONA!

  5. Absolutely loved this Tosca on Christmas Eve... as much as we did when we previously saw in in the Odeon Cinema a couple of months ago. Angela was stunning, Brynn was a super duper baddie and just adored Jonas. Wonderful sets, great costumes, amazing music. I this Heaven? Yes, I think it is....

  6. kathleen lamb responded on 24 December 2011 at 4:36pm Reply

    wonderful truly wonderful what a way to spend a saturday afternoon,three glorious singers working so well together ,i felt like i was there in the audience.thank you.

  7. Vicki Kaye responded on 24 December 2011 at 6:30pm Reply

    A very good idea to present these documentaries because although I agree with the idea of the arts being accessible, it often results in a consequential dumbing down which I think is patronising to those who don't know the work and incredibly frustrating to thoser that do. This documentary had I think, a relaxed but helpful approach and I would enjoy more of them - particularly for less standard repertoire.

  8. Sue Kinder responded on 24 December 2011 at 9:52pm Reply

    I have loved this opera since I was a child and my Dad and his cousin used to play 78 rpm records. The songs always made my heart miss a beat and they still do!
    This production was as good as the one I saw with Placido Domingo in many years ago! The best of Italian operas and perhaps THE best opera! Lovely to see Bryn Terfel in it too.
    The essential Tosca was useful to get a background especially re its locations in Rome. I could watch both programmes again. Thanks!

  9. Maureen Perkins responded on 24 December 2011 at 11:14pm Reply

    I have always enjoyed Antonio Pappano's dissertations on tv. He brings the music to life in so many ways. His enthusiasm for the arts and understanding of what draws people to music; and what people draw from music; is inspiring. And of course Angela Gheorghiu's voice and passion coupled with Bryn Terfel's stage presence and inimitable timbre complete a perfect Christmas treat. It could only be bettered by being in the Royal Opera House with them! Thank you for two engrossing programmes.

  10. David Ellis responded on 25 December 2011 at 11:59am Reply

    Would like more programmes of this quality.

  11. Mark Fox responded on 25 December 2011 at 12:48pm Reply

    Watched from start to finish-ABSOLUTELY stunning!.A fantastic production with a world-class line-up.
    Thank You-

  12. Ellen West responded on 28 December 2011 at 11:08am Reply

    So glad you all enjoyed the programmes. There are radio broadcasts still coming up from the Royal Opera House during the festive period - more details here: http://www.roh.org.uk/news/televisual-treats-the-royal-opera-and-royal-ballet-on-tv-this-christmas

  13. sandra goodsell responded on 11 January 2012 at 6:01pm Reply

    This was by far the best production of Tosca have ever seen, I found it all very moving, I enjoyed learning more about the work before the opera commenced will there be a dvd?

  14. Carlos Olivieri responded on 13 January 2012 at 4:30am Reply

    MAGISTRAL DIRECCION ORQUESTAL!!

  15. Jill Chapman responded on 26 January 2012 at 4:06pm Reply

    Antonio Pappano's in depth dissertation on Tosca was simply wonderful. I recorded it and have watched it twice and will watch it again and again. I wish there would be a DVD of this and his insights into other operas. I am 80 and will never get to an opera house again but oh what a treat this programme was. Thank you Antonia and to everyone in the programme. Jill

  16. celia lewis responded on 29 January 2012 at 5:23pm Reply

    This was a superb performance of Tosca, which is my favourite opera. Three outstanding artistes - it was heaven on earth to me, I so wanted to be in that audience. The passion of Puccini at its best. I saw Domingo in the one from Rome several years ago, and this was a worthy contender and was its equal totally. Bryn as Scarpia - evil personified - Jonas was superb and Angela as wonderful as ever. WHEN CAN WE GET THE DVD PLEASE?

    • Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News)) responded on 30 January 2012 at 11:20am

      Hi Celia,

      Thanks for your comment. On the DVD, we're hoping to release the DVD in the near future. Keep checking back as our News section will have details as soon as they become available.

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