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January 19, 2007 | 3 Comments

Post to the Host:
From the Leah Garchik column in the San Francisco Chronicle. Jan 17, 2007:

"Nedra Ruiz, who went to the sold-out "Prairie Home Companion" show at the Opera House last weekend, says harrumph over host Garrison Keillor's assertion (twice) that Giuseppe Verdi wrote "Tosca.'' It was Puccini."

Mark C.
San Francisco, CA

Verdi helped Puccini write "Tosca" — that's what I meant to say. They were on tour in San Francisco with Verdi's opera "Fresca" and Caruso was demanding something new so Puccini wrote "Bosco" and Verdi changed it to "Tosca" and there you are. (Or maybe I'm thinking of Monteverdi.) Anyway, it's not worth you worrying about, Mark. Opera fanatics are always going to argue about these minor points. Let's you and I take the high road and focus on beauty and truth, and let the scholars niggle as they will.


verdi/puccini, sure but who played the great bone solo in the otherwise unremarkable "st louis blues" performance?

No matter what, That was a great show. Thank you Garrison for comming to San Francisco. I can not wait until you return. Ive traveled all the way to Milwalkee to see your show during one of the worst storm season last February. Ive now seen you in San Francisco. Next stop....The Fitzgerald Theater. See you there.

In light of the Verdi / Puccini dispute, I thought you might be interested to read Wikipedia's comments on Verdi's actual involvement with Puccini and Tosca. I learned this because of your comment, so thanks!


"The original play [Tosca] by Victorien Sardou was produced in Paris in 1887 and seen by Puccini in Milan, in 1887, with Sarah Bernhardt as Tosca. Puccini immediately asked his editor Giulio Ricordi to buy Sardou's rights, but these were finally bought only in 1893 to be given to Alberto Franchetti, another composer. Illica wrote his libretto, and in October 1894, Franchetti, Ricordi, Illica and Giuseppe Verdi met Sardou to present him the libretto. Verdi was particularly fascinated by this tragedy, but he refused to compose music for it unless Sardou could come up with another ending.

After a few months Franchetti finally admitted he was not able to compose music for the work, so Giulio Ricordi asked Puccini to do it. Puccini was still offended and only Verdi's intercession convinced him to accept. He started working on it in 1896, after the completion of La Bohème..." there you go.

Michael Swanson, Fresno, CA....
...but still a Minnesotan

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