Thursday evening we open Puccini’s Tosca
. This dazzling and passionate production has a long history with the Company and the War Memorial Opera House. Eighty years ago in 1932 the War Memorial building opened and became the home of San Francisco Opera. The first performance in the new venue was none other than Tosca
. Can you blame us for feeling a bit sentimental?
Our current production of Tosca premiered in 1997 and was designed to replicate the original 1932 production. The 1997 production by Lotfi Mansouri and Thierry Bosquet recalls the grandeur of the way we were in 1932. While the design is an homage to the original Armando Agnini production, it also showcases some of Mansouri and Bosquet's own design and vision.
Before our two superstar sopranos—Angela Gheorghiu and Patricia Racette—take to the stage as Floria Tosca, we'd like to share some production fun facts and photos from 1932.
Tosca was part of San Francisco Opera’s first season in 1923, and it inaugurated the War Memorial Opera House on October 15, 1932.
The original design for Tosca was created by Armando Agnini, the Company’s designer and director for most productions staged between 1923 and 1953.
Tosca opened Company seasons in 1932, 1949, 1952, 1960, 1970 and 1992.
Claudia Muzio, the first War Memorial Opera House Tosca, wore costumes with a lot of satin cut on the bias designed for her by Worth of Paris, which was all the rage in the 1930s.
The current production was presented at the re-opening of the Opera House following the renovation and seismic retrofit completed after the damage of the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989.
[Cover scan of original 1932 program.]
[Claudia Muzio as Tosca in 1932. Morton photo.]
[Alfredo Gandolfi as Scarpia and Muzio as Tosca in 1932. Morton photo.]
[Act II, 1932. Morton photo.]
[End of Act I, 1932. Morton photo.]