Susan Lewis from Philadelphia’s WRTI 90.1 sits down with Jennifer Rowley to discover her portrayal of her character Tosca and how she relates to Tosca’s passion and love.
The opera is set in Rome in 1800, when Napoleon was charging through Italy. The character Tosca is a famous singer who is deeply in love with the artist Cavaradossi. Her jealousy leads to tragic consequences, but don’t judge her too harshly.
“She was actually orphaned, found in a field by monks, and raised in a monastery,” says soprano Jennifer Rowley, who found humanizing details in the play by Victorien Sardou on which the opera is based. “She had a lot of music in her life. The organist at the monastery worked with her and she was discovered at a very young age and taken to La Scala.”
The opera picks up the story just a few years after her debut at that famous Italian opera house.
“So we know she’s probably 19, 20,” says Rowley. This young person, who doesn’t really know how to deal with all of this fame and a new boyfriend.” But as the opera goes on, her boyfriend is arrested and tortured by the secret police and Tosca grows up quickly.