Music for the Eyes: Manuscripts from the Frank Cooper Facsimile Collection
Music for the Eyes: Facsimiles: Tosca

Puccini's Tosca


This autograph manuscript of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Tosca, housed in the Casa Ricordi archives, provides us with a unique insight into the composer’s work, written in his own hand. We can see that he marked through errors, made changes and additions, and wrote notes to himself in the margins of the pages. Both the grueling process of operatic composition and Puccini’s perfectionist nature are made evident in the obsessive revising and polishing of the work, a musical gift that is treasured all the more for the effort that went into its creation.

This deluxe facsimile, one of a limited edition of 100 copies, presents Puccini’s work in three volumes, bound in quarter leather and featuring the lettering and ornaments of the original. Accompanied by a commentary that includes full-color reproductions of artwork, staging and costume designs from the earliest productions of Tosca, this facsimile is a superb addition to our collection.

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Act II

At the beginning of Act II, Puccini directs the orchestra to play vivacissimo con violenza, or "very lively, with violence."

Correction 1

One of the many examples of Puccini's corrections throughout the manuscript, this passage shows an edit of the string parts. Puccini has completely obliterated the original notes, as well as the staves on which those notes were written. He has composed new string parts on the empty staves above.

Correction 2

This example illustrates shows how complex--and messy--musical composition can be. Marked-through notes, scribbles in the margins, and smudged and spilled ink adorn this page.

Blue pencil

Aside from black ink, different colors of pencil appear in the manuscript. Here, blue pencil is used to indicate that the second violin should play an octave above what is written on the staff.

Correction 3

In this example, Puccini has deleted two measures, written new string parts in the next measure, then deleted the following measure. The use of ink to compose precludes simply erasing any errors, and this type of full-page correction is not uncommon in the manuscript.