en-Fantaisie sur Tosca (flute and piano)

18/09/2022

No self-respecting flutist could ever go without adding fantaisies on operas to their repertoire. Created at the end of the 19th century, this musical form enables the great hits of the lyrical repertoire to leave theaters and enter more intimate concert formats, thus contributing to a broader diffusion of operatic music. Its advantages are many : it allows the audience to (re)discover their favorite arias, but also creates the perfect opportunity for the performers to impress with their virtuosity and musicality. As such, it comes not a surprise that these fantasies were met with a tremendous success and started to multiply, becoming major pieces of arrangements. There are for instance the ever popular Fantaisies on Carmen, la Traviata or Rigoletto, all as dear to the flute players as their originals are to the enlightened music lovers. This is why, amongst the stars of all operas, the absence of a flute fantasy on Puccini's Tosca until now comes as quite surprising.

Premiered in Rome in 1900, Tosca is the adaptation of a play written by French author Victorien Sardou. Both the plot and the striking stage presence of Sarah Bernhardt made an impression on Puccini, who decided to acquire the rights to play for his next opera. Tosca is about a woman madly in love blinded by her jealousy, a police chief burning with desire and willing to go to the worst lengths to get what he wants, and murder. But it is also about the tragic story of lovers put through blackmail and torture and whose fate catch up with them, just as they think they will get away together. All these components make Tosca into what have been called an "opera thriller", and played no small part in the resulting harsh reviews from the critics, nor the acclaim of the audience at its debuts. Considering the prominent place this opera takes in the repertoire, it was high time for the flutists to be able to rejoice over their own Fantasy on Tosca. 

Distinguished flutist and eminent pedagogue himself, Jean-Christophe Maltot, whose knowledge of the opera repertoire would make any conductor envious, brilliantly fills this repertoire gap with his new work. You will find all the elements ensuring its resounding success amongst flutists and with the delighted audience. A carefully thought-out piano part whose role is not limited to mere accompaniment and a well-balanced succession of cadenzas, direct quotes and virtuosic variations enable the performer to shine through his technical and musical skills. As for the audience, they will revel in recognizing the most famous leitmotivs of the opera around every nook and cranny of the piece : the distinctive chords representing Scarpia, Tosca's theme, the motive of flight or torture... This process will not induce a pleasing feeling of familiar intimacy in the listener, combined with the exciting experience of discovering the opera in a new and very different way.

Hélène Boulègue, Février 2021

Arrangement : Jean-Christophe Maltot

Award: Grand Price and Gold Price in the composition category with "Fantasie sur Tosca" of the World Classical Music Awards in London (https://www.worldclassicalmusic.com/s3-1)

World Creation : Hélène Boulègue, Dorian Music Flute Festival, Taïwan, 2023

Duration : 11'

Klarthe Editions

Tosca Artists

Hélène Boulègue : Word Premiere (13/06/23), Dorian Flute Festival - Taïwan

Hélène Boulègue : Europe Premiere (01/03/24), VI Miedzynarodowy Festiwal Fletowy (6th International Flute Festival), Poznan - Poland