Puccini's opera 'Tosca' was based on a stage play by Victorien Sardou which the composer had seen in Milan with the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt. The story is partly about a historical event in the time of Napoleon, about the tragedy of the renowned singer Floria Tosca. After many efforts, Puccini managed to obtain Sardou's permission to write an opera of this content. The world premiere of 'Tosca' took place in Rome in 1900 – with an overwhelming success for the composer.Kurt Pahlen juxtaposes the Italian text with the translation of the libretto frequently used at German theatres, adding information on the compositional structure and context to the musical as well as external and internal dramatic action of the opera. A short synopsis, a brief outline of the genesis and comments on the topic and history bring the work into relation with the composer's entire oeuvre and his life, thus offering a comprehensive, richly illustrated introduction.