Opera Behind Opera I: Song At Midnight (1937)

Left : Puccini, Tosca, Finale, Cavaradossi’s Firing Squad Execution (Tosca stage left in red: the “chorus”)
Right Song Danping’s Singing/performing 热血 (“the impetuous”) in flashback of 1916 – his own chorus

Sometimes the way the same scene is redevised tells the whole tale. In “Song at Midnight”, the hero’s vanity and contempt for women/weakness is shown by his insistence on speaking by himself for himself …. though his audience (unshown) is a woman watching from offstage.

In Tosca, the hero is penitent, silent, stoic (what I have done to her…). It is she that pleads his case, but not by political platform, rather by singing her agony and encouragements to her dying lover.
What a difference it all makes.


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