In the Puccini opera “Tosca,” the artist Cavaradossi’s garden stands for love, beauty, desire, lushness, and passion. It’s the place where Cavaradossi and Tosca, the opera singer, first embraced. I’ve been thinking about this garden ever since seeing the Boston Lyric Opera production yesterday afternoon. I imagine that the artist’s garden, neither pictured nor described in the opera, is formal in outline and overblown in its proportions.
At the BLO, Cavaradossi (tenor Richard Crawley) and Floria Tosca (soprano Jill Gardner) expressed their doomed passion with operatic perfection. The heat of their attachment contrasted with the evildoing of the sadistic Baron Scarpia (Bradley Garvin.) But it’s the garden references that stick in my mind. Why? My garden is also lush and beautiful, and I feel passionate watching my plants grow and change through the seasons.
For me, no season is more fragile and striking in its beauty than autumn, especially after the leaves have changed color but before they start to fall from the trees. I decided to share with you a photo that evokes the fullness and passion of fall. The red trees are cutleaf fullmoon maple (Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’), Heart Throb kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa ‘Heart Throb’), and sourwood (Oxydendron arboreum). The lemon yellow shrub is Witches Broom ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba ‘Witches Broom’), the golden trees in the distance are sugar maple (Acer saccharum), and the fine-textured, bronze and green trees in front of the sugar maples are bald cypress (Taxodium distichum). There’s opera in my garden, starring lushness and color that are all the more poignant because they cannot last.