Stage design | theatre 
Director: Sebastian Baumgarten
Musical direction: Max Renne
Stage design: Robert Lippok, Alexander Wolf
Costumes: Ellen Hofmann
Music: Tarwater
Video: Chris Kondek

Orchestra: German Film Orchestra Babelsberg
Volksbühne Berlin, 2008

This TOSCA still bears the name of the opera with which the composer Giacomo Puccini created one of the most frequently performed music theatre compositions in the international opera repertoire in 1900: an exemplary work in the context of the “verismo” aesthetic that flourished in Italy at the turn of the century, the art of authentic detail. At the same time, however, this opera is considered to be the last word in the familiar bel canto tradition; Puccini’s music already unmistakably foreshadows the modern age that will soon bid farewell to operas like this one. This is where the Volksbühne’s TOSCA comes in – and subjects the opera’s material to a new imaginative and practical test: in a kind of associative space of the arts.

In Sebastian Baumgarten’s production, Puccini is the starting point, not the end point, of a musico-dramatic enquiry. For the Volksbühne, he stretches the horizon of association and fantasy about TOSCA very far – the musical electronic musicians of the “Tarwater” band send Puccini’s composition through the computer’s metamorphosis machine, while video artist Chris Kondek generates the images: between temples and altars on the one side and flying machines and racing mobiles on the other. The whole thing is TOSCA – and yet not an opera.

Wolf and Lippok placed the orchestra on the revolving stage in a space closed on three sides in a scaffolding construction with several playing levels. The volume and sound frequencies changed depending on the position of the stage in relation to the auditorium. In one scene, the orchestra was turned towards the circular horizon and was no longer visible to the audience.
This meant that a large part of the direct sound could only be heard via the reflection on the rear wall.


Technical drawing: © Volksbühne, S.Behringer, 2008