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bouncing_tosca_by_michael_fSome stories you don’t quite know how to take – especially when they begin to crop up in reference to different circumstances. One such story is that of the bouncing Tosca,  that goes more or less like this: I don’t think I’m spoiling anything if I say that, at the end of the third Act, Tosca escapes conviction and unhappiness by the drastic means of jumping off the ramparts of Castel Sant’Angelo…

Stage-wise, this is accomplished by having the soprano jump off the suitable piece of scenery to land on a mattress beneath. Except, for some reason, at one point a trampoline is substituted for the mattress, and poor, suicidal Tosca bounces up again and again, spoiling somewhat the mood of what should be a considerably tragic ending.

I first came across this story in a book by Gerald Durrell, who sets it in Corfu, in the august presence the King of Greece. According to Hugh Vickers, though, this happened in far more recent years, somewhere in the United States… It can’t have happened twice, can it?

Well, on second thoughts, perhaps it could. After all, Tosca seems to have a long tradition of mishaps, according to this amusing article by Max Kellogg. I could add a little tale of a Third Act firing squad marching into place and taking position. Then the first line kneels down, at the officer’s order they all raise their rifles and… knock all the tricorn hats off the heads of the kneeling men, with a graceful and simultaneous precision they would never have achieved in weeks of rehearsals. Poor Cavaradossi: it must be hard to die before a giggling audience…