Making a movie out of an opera usually proves to be at least one artistic endeavor too many. The sung-and-acted stage spectacle is such a singular feat of live entertainment, and film, well, film is its own singular, flat-screen thing. But French film director Benoit Jacquot (”Sade,” ”A Single Girl”), making his first opera-to-film translation with Tosca, conveys the heaving passion of Puccini’s famous love-jealousy-murder-suicide fandango with great cinematic innovation.
His cameras soar and swoon as much as the plot: Sometimes they focus on the intensity of the characters (free to concentrate on their actions while the soundtrack conveys their voices), other times they document the artifice of performance, revealing conductor Antonio Pappano and the chorus in their street clothes, shot in black and white. Genuine diva Angela Gheorghiu and her husband, Roberto Alagna, star as Tosca and Cavaradossi; the eminent bass-baritone Ruggero Raimondi is the villainous Scarpia.