• Tosca Educator Guide

What to Expect from Tosca

An idealistic artist, a celebrated opera singer, and a corrupt police chief engage in a fierce battle of wills in this tempestuous tale of cruelty and deception. Puccini’s great melodrama may be set in 1800, but its tale of intrigue, hypocrisy, and the courage of convictions is anything but dated. In story, song, and ethical challenge, Tosca offers your students an afternoon of extreme opera.

In his new Met production, director Luc Bondy presents Tosca not only as a thriller but also as an intimate drama of devotion, courage, and resilience. “Tosca,” says James Levine, the Met’s Music Director and conductor of this Live in HD performance, “combines Puccini’s glorious musical inspiration with the melodramatic vitality of one of the great Hitchcock films. From the very first bar of the piece, Tosca seizes you and keeps you on the edge of your seat until the last note.”

The acclaimed Finnish soprano Karita Mattila, seen in the 2008 Live in HD transmission of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, sings the title role of Floria Tosca—a high point in any soprano’s career. The excitement is not only musical. “At first I thought, ‘How will it feel to kill somebody on stage?’” Mattila says. “But Tosca is like an action movie, and the drama just happens.”

  • Classroom Activity

    A full-length activity, designed to support your ongoing curriculum.

  • Musical Highlights

    Five "Musical Highlights" designed to focus on bits of music from Tosca to cultivate familiarity with the work.
  • Performance Activities

    Performance Activities for students to enjoy during the Metropolitan Opera HD transmission.
  • Post-Show Discussion

    A post-transmission activity, integrating the Live in HD experience into students' wider views of the performing arts and humanities.

Tosca at the Met

The drama unfolds amid the Napoleonic Wars. The questions at the heart of Puccini’s Tosca are as thought-provoking as today’s op-ed page: what would a woman do to save the man she loves? How far dare a person go to protect a friend? What is a citizen’s responsibility in a time of political upheaval? What happens when law and conscience collide?

The activities in this guide offer students an introduction to the magnificence and the moral dilemmas that make up the music and the story of Tosca. The full-length Classroom Activity provides a framework for approaching an art form that may be unfamiliar to young people. Shorter activities hone the skills of listening closely to music. By provoking thought and providing a taste of Tosca’s excitement, the guide seeks to help you enhance young people’s enjoyment of this Metropolitan Opera Live in HD production.

The synopsis can be found here.