Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Franco Corelli, Renata Heredia Capnist, Carlo Tagliabue, Antonio Votto, Antonio Sacchetti
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts
Monica | Romania | 06/22/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One has to keep in mind that in Tosca, Mario Cavaradossi is the lead character, not Floria Tosca (she is merely the title character). He is the great hero who, under torture, tells Tosca "Coraggio! - Taci! - Sprezzo il dolor!" ("Courage. Be silent. I despise the pain!"). But the character's heroic nature is overlooked in most performances because most tenors are not up to rendering it.
This movie stars Franco Corelli in 1955, four years into his career. The movie was made one year before the other Tosca he made, in color and directed by Carmine Gallone. (I reviewed it for Amazon, too, under the headline "Interesting Document").
This one here is black and white. But from all points of view it is better than the Gallone movie. First, the sound track is better digitalized. The director here did a much better job than Gallone. And all the singing is better here, too.
Soprano Renata Heredia Capnist is the greatest surprise: a splendid Tosca, with a warm voice, somewhat lacking in the lower register but able to interpret the role beautifully based on a very solid technique. She is an elegant and desperate Tosca, not a jealous and possessive one as the character is usually portrayed. The entire cast is excellent, all-Italian, perfectly authentic stylistically. The orchestra and the conducting are great.
Franco Corelli, although very young here, really portrays vocally Cavaradossi's heroism (in the torture scene and in the splendid "Vittoria"), Cavaradossi's tenderness in his duets with Tosca, and the character's tragic desperation, which is so typical of Corelli, most of all in the splendid "E lucevan le stelle." His acting is also exquisite. Equally stylish in the lovingly tender scenes with Tosca and when angrily pounding his fist on Scarpia's desk.
There are many profound and haunting cinematographic solutions. Only two examples for brevity.
The torture chamber is not shown, actually being placed behind what seems to be a very benign portrait, which perfectly creates the atmosphere of anxiety needed in the scene.
And in Act 3, the prison guard acts with the body language of a bored bureaucrat about to do his routine work: namely prepare the condemned man for execution. After which comes the tragic "E lucevan..." and Scarpia's horrible sarcasm at the end. The contrast will bombard your soul.
If tears come to your eyes while watching this, here is a quote from the play La Tosca by Victorien Sardou, the play that inspired Puccini:
"Par votre chant 'vous ferez verser de douces larmes; et c'est encore une facon de prier Dieu.'" (By your singing "you will make people shed sweet tears; and this is another way of praying to God.")