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Puccini's Opera Tosca: Background information when reading Leaving

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A Novel

by Roxana Robinson

Leaving by Roxana Robinson X
Leaving by Roxana Robinson
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    Feb 2024, 344 pages


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Puccini's Opera Tosca

This article relates to Leaving

1899 Tosca poster depicting woman with cross in hand, bent over presumably dead man, against gold and red background Roxana Robinson's novel Leaving begins with the protagonists meeting at the Metropolitan Opera House during a production of Tosca. This opera is a tragedy, set in Rome in 1800, during the Napoleonic Wars.

The drama centers around three main characters: Mario Cavaradossi, a painter and Napoleon supporter; Baron Vitellio Scarpia, the corrupt head of police; and Floria Tosca, a beautiful opera singer. Tosca and Cavaradossi are lovers but the lascivious Scarpia wants to add Tosca to his long list of conquests. He arrests Cavaradossi on suspicion of hiding an escaped political prisoner and has him tortured in Tosca's hearing, ultimately sentencing him to death. Tosca pleads for Cavaradossi's life, which Scarpia pretends he'll grant in exchange for her willingly giving herself to him. He writes a letter of safe passage for the couple and tells her he's arranged for the execution to be faked. As he then goes to embrace Tosca, she stabs him in the heart, uttering one of the most famous...

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