there are spoilers of the tosca opera by puccini, but i guess if you have missed it since 1900, its more on you at this point!

So yeah, i went and saw Tosca live in palladium in Malmö! it was my birthday gift! palladium is such a beautiful place. I never had the chance to go there. its so lovely. i never imagined it to be so large. i had passed it so many times and it never caught my attention. but oh dear god its big and so very beautiful.

Hanging out in the Foaje, the first thing you see is that the majority of the audience are senior people. the two of us brought the average age of the audience down (by like 2 hours)! this a theme where ever i go to a classical concert which is a shame.
i am going to heavily read into this from my experience in another place in the world, maybe its different here! but when i was growing up it was always laughed at to listen to classical music as a young person. as if it was not serious, you didnt actually appreciate it, but it rather was a phase you were going through to show off. it was deemed snobbish. i’m sure its not this bad here in sweden… but still these are still elitist spaces you know? tickets are expensive! it’s not something i can do regularly, i can only imagine how much more difficult it would be for a 14 year old me to save for a performance. and this is such a shame! because this medium has so much to offer!

But at this point the doors open. the crowd moves towards the hall. a lady dismissively tells a gentleman that he cant bring his coffee, which he puts on a nearby table while lamenting that he had just got it. i chug my wine, if the gentleman cant take his coffee, i think, then a little queer boy certainly cant take his wine (she was right, there was no space for glasses in there). we go in!

One of the wonderful things about this place was that the tickets didn’t have seat numbers, so you can seat anywhere. A bit of chaos follows but it was not that bad. I liked the fact that you can’t just get better seats if you have more money. Its really nice actually!

Another theme that i see every time i go somewhere to a performance like this, is how few racialised people are there. when i sit there in my seat, and get a chance to look around, it slaps me in the face. and no, its not the good type of slap in the face. It happened in Malmö opera, it happened in Copenhagen opera house too. it’s a lonely feeling. My people are not the part of this -not even the senior ones-(except for being part of the entertainment, it always does, our labor is so very welcome always). Im sure it’s not just white people who can enjoy opera, right? but there is this almost surgical removal of the racialised people from “high culture”. they don’t stop us drinking from the fountain but we somehow end up being so entangled in the systematic shit-show done to our lives that the majority of us can’t afford it (afford the cost, mental space, energy, etc.). I didn’t use to afford this kind of thing either, even though I listened religiously to classical music during all my teenage years. I used to be dirt poor. at least my parents forcing their queer kid to not to go to arts and humanities payed off now i guess. i am not in the orchestra, or outside the venue. im sitting there enjoying the show! Capitalism works you see? and who cares about those outside or in the orchestra? in this specific night, of the people who you could visibly identify as racialised, there was me, and one other person who seemed to be helping of an old white lady.

The lights turn dim, and angelotti runs on the stage. he is speaking Swedish. huh! but somehow it works actually! The performance was amazing. the singer who did Cavaradossi (Markus Pettersson) was my least interesting performer. His “e lucevan le stelle” was quite meh. On the other hand Kine Sandtrö fucking nailed Tosca. She was so good i got goosebumps and cried when she sang vissi d’arte. When she killed that piece of shit Scarpia (played so well by Eirik Krokfjord) .

There are so many wonderful themes in this opera. the fact that the “crime” of angelotti is not discussed! look at this beautiful interaction. its the first time cavaradossi meets angelotti after his escape:

Cavaradossi remembers the fugitive’s face: “Angelotti! the consul! of the lamented roman republic!”
Angelotti: “i have just escaped from castle sant’angelo.”
Cavaradossi: “i am at your service.”

and that’s it! Cavaradossi just knows! we don’t get a lot of context as the audience either. You just know you should help the person on the run from the police. Cavaradossi knows. so do you!

Another beautiful thread is the sacristan being the one that rats cavaradossi out, how the church and the police are not in opposition. with the final scene of act 1 being the mass sang by the choir intertwined with scarpia’s ‘tosca, you make me forget even god!’ and followed by scarpia joining the last verse with the choir “everlasting father, all the earth worships thee”. because of course he joins in. On top of this, they had a minimal cast of singers, the people in the church choir also played the police goons. I don’t know if it was the result of an intentional choice or just low budget, but i loved it.

But the absolute best is the fact that tosca is not a damsel in distress. She is not perfect, but she is wonderful. She is an agent in her life and pays dearly for it in this world of men. You don’t see the opera as the story of of Angelotti or Cavaradossi or the story of Scarpia (oh dear, just imagine the horror it would have been to see this from eyes of Scarpia!). It is Tosca’s experience. Its her choices. Tosca chooses to tell the location of Angelotti to Scarpia to end Cavaradossi’s torture and save his life (and has to live with this). Tosca chooses to lie to Cavaradossi to not add to his pain. she decides to kill that dirt bag scarpia when he attempts to rape her. and she chooses to die instead of getting caught by Scarpia’s henchmen!

All in all, if you want to see an imperfect but amazing opera that openly hates on the police go see Tosca!