Tosca. 1955. USA. Directed by Kirk Browning. Adaptation by John Gutman. With Leontyne Price, David Poleri, Josh Wheeler. 16mm. 111 min.
Originally televised as part of NBC Opera Theatre, Puccini’s famous work is presented here in English with an astounding performance by legendary soprano Leontyne Price in the title role. With this production, Price became the first African American to appear on a televised opera in a leading role. Set in Rome on the eve of the Napoleonic Wars, Tosca tells a tragic story of love and betrayal between painter Cavaradossi and actress Tosca. NBC Opera Theatre was a concerted effort to expose a large audience to highbrow culture, and embodies the unusually risky, experimental mindset of early television programming.