The publication day of ‘Opera’ grows ever closer (5th September) and so does the date of the launch. In preparation I’ve been collecting and sharing images relating to Tosca for some months and I plan to use them at the launch event. These range from copies of the original posters for the premieres of both the play by Victorien Sardou, in Paris in 1887 and Puccini’s opera in Rome in 1900, through to film posters of the 1970s and modern posters for productions of the opera. In the course of searching for these images, however, I have discovered that ‘Tosca’ is also the name given, presumably in honour of the diva and Puccini, to a number of other items, including several types of perfume, at least two cars and a cocktail.
The Tosca Eau de Parfum can still be bought today for £16.74 and accompanied by shower gel, deodorant and moisturiser in the same fragrance. There is also an extremely expensive version by Xerjoff Casamorati, available from Harrods – a snip at £81.95 for 30ml (see above). It seems that the original perfume was created by Farina 4711 and vintage bottles are now traded on ebay and etsy (see left). The very expensive, bright pink/purple bottle of the Xerjoff is much less attractive, to my eye, but it is certainly distinctive. I have yet to discover why it was designed as it was.
As regards the cars – the Lamborghini Tosca is just what you’d expect, something sleek, elegant and fast ( and, in most of the images I could find, red, which continues a colour theme found in the Tosca opera posters. More of a surprise is that it is a hybrid with a traditional V10 engine, as well as electric batteries. Even Italian super cars are going green these days. Just as surprising is the La Tosca, a 1955 concept car from Ford. It was designed to be remote controlled, so is driverless and in that is very modern, but it has the sort of design which owes much to aircraft and was thought to be ‘space age’ at the time. The pictures of it that I have seen show a car which seems to float above the ground with huge wing fins, a plexi-glass bubble over the passenger compartment and an exhaust which looks like a jet engine. The car is often a bubblegum pink, which makes me think of a sort of very sporty version of Lady Penelope’s Rolls Royce from Thunderbirds. This was the Ford La Tosca, an actual car, though it was never put into production.
The Tosca cocktail might prove easier to afford, even than the lower cost perfume. It was designed for the 2019 production of Tosca at La Scala, Milan and was served in Il Foyer bar there. It is made with the south American spirit, Mezcal, two types of Martini (we are in Italy after all) elderflower foam and, to dress, tomato powder and chilli pepper. If it appeals you can find the recipe here.
I have, however, invented my own cocktail, mainly for the launch event, but also because I rather prefer fizz-based cocktails. It is also more representative, for me, of opera in general. My Tosca themed drink contains 70% fizz (Champagne, Prosecco or Cava, depending on the depth of your pocket), 30% fresh blood orange juice, a sprig of fresh rosemary and a slice of blood orange. The rosemary gives it an aroma and a slightly perfumed taste. Try it.