The Tosca Timeline

The Met has presented nearly 1,000 performances of Puccini’s Tosca, starting with the work’s U.S. premiere in 1901. Since then, the opera has appeared in only six productions—but all of them featured some of the greatest singers of their generations. Explore the fascinating history of Tosca at the Met. By Christopher Browner

February 4, 1901
The U.S. premiere of Tosca stars Milka Ternina in the title role, with Giuseppe Cremonini as Cavaradossi and Antonio Scotti as Scarpia, in a production directed by William Parry.

Ternina, Milka Title Role Tosca Dupont.jpg

November 13, 1917
The Brooklyn Academy of Music hosts the premiere of the Met’s second production of Tosca, by Richard Ordynski, with Geraldine Farrar as the eponymous diva. This production would last for the next 50 years—though it was heavily revised for both the 1941–42 and 1955–56 seasons.


October 4, 1968
Otto Schenk makes his Met debut directing Birgit Nilsson, Franco Corelli, and Gabriel Bacquier in the lead roles. It was in this same production a decade later—restaged by legendary baritone Tito Gobbi—that Shirley Verrett took on the title character for the first time in her career.

(Left) Nilsson and Corelli; (Right) Verrett

March 11, 1985
Having debuted her Tosca only months earlier in Paris, Hildegard Behrens headlines Franco Zeffirelli’s new production, which also stars Plácido Domingo as Cavaradossi and Cornell MacNeil as Scarpia.

Behrens, Hildegard_Tosca_title role_Klotz.jpg

September 21, 2009
James Levine conducts the opening night premiere of Luc Bondy’s new Tosca, starring Karita Mattila and Marcelo Álvarez.

TOSCA Mattila 2459.jpg

December 31, 2017
The Met rang in the New Year with a production premiere—Sonya Yoncheva, made her role debut as Tosca in Sir David McVicar’s new staging, conducted by Emmanuel Villaume.



Christopher Browner is the Met’s Associate Editor.