Passion opens in Milan with two young lovers, naked in bed, singing of 
their ardor (Happiness). The handsome young soldier Giorgio breaks their 
reverie by telling his beautiful mistress Clara that he is being 
transferred to a provincial army outpost. As Giorgio prepares to depart, 
he celebrates Clara's beauty. 
In the mess hall at the outpost, Giorgio meets Colonel Ricci, the 
regiment's commanding officer, and Dr. Tambourri, its attending 
physician. Giorgio's reputation for heroics has preceded him. He thinks 
longingly of Clara (First Letter), and Clara thinks longingly of him (
Second Letter). Giorgio's thoughts are rudely interrupted by a 
frightening scream. The Colonel tells him not to worry - it's his sickly 
cousin Fosca. He tells Giorgio that reading is Fosca's only passion; 
Giorgio offers to lend her some books. 
At this army post so far from the city, the sensitive Giorgio feels 
increasingly out of place (Third Letter). He starts to form a friendship 
with the Doctor, who describes Fosca as "a kind of medical phenomenon, a 
collection of many ills." Her illness manifests itself in hysterical 
convulsions and exposes her fearlessness, her pain and her need for 
In the mess hall, Giorgio opens another letter from Clara (Fourth Letter
). As he does so, a shadowy figure behind him descends a long spectral 
Clothed in a drab green dress, her body stiff with pain, the 
unattractive Fosca introduces herself to Giorgio (I Read). She gives him 
a bouquet of flowers, then collapses in a hysterical faint. Giorgio is 
stunned (Transition). 
We are transported from the mess hall to the neglected garden of a 
nearby ruined castle, where the Colonel asks Giorgio to lend Fosca his 
arm. While Giorgio and Fosca stroll, he thinks of Clara. Giorgio and 
Clara sing a duet, a letter he has written to her. Fosca accuses Giorgio 
of cruelty (Garden Sequence). 
As the days pass, Giorgio and Clara exchange letters about Fosca. Clara 
warns him to keep his distance. In fact, Fosca has already developed a 
dangerous obsession. At dinner that night, she gives Giorgio a letter 
declaring her feelings, but he chooses not to read it. She grabs his 
hand beneath the table and refuses to let go. Giorgio immediately asks 
the Colonel if he can have a five-day leave to go to Milan. With some 
hesitation, the Colonel agrees (Transition). 
The following morning, as Giorgio prepares to go, Fosca ambushes him and 
throws herself at his feet, avowing her love. He calms her, but not 
before agreeing to write her as soon as he arrives in the city. 
While Fosca, sitting alone in her parlor, sings tearfully from the 
letter Giorgio has sent her, Clara and Giorgio, back in their little 
room, sing of their love for one another (Trio). 
Upon Giorgio's return to the camp, Fosca coldly reproaches him. She 
questions him about his affair with Clara and learns that her "rival" is 
married. In a sharp exchange, they both agree to sever all ties. 
Three weeks pass with no contact between them (Transition), but just as 
Giorgio is beginning to think that he is finally free of Fosca, Dr. 
Tambourri informs him that she is dying. Giorgio's rejection of her, the 
Doctor says, has accelerated her disease; Giorgio has a duty to go to 
her now and offer a few words of hope. Giorgio reluctantly agrees. 
He enters Fosca's bed chamber, and she implores him to lie beside her on 
the bed while she sleeps. At daybreak, Fosca asks him for a favor before 
he leaves: "Write a letter for me." He agrees, but the letter she 
dictates is a fantasy one from Giorgio to herself (I Wish I Could Forget 
You). She then encourages him to give her a brotherly peck on the 
forehead, which she tries to turn into a passionate kiss. He hastens 
from the room. 
The other soldiers gossip about Giorgio and Fosca while playing pool (
Soldiers' Gossip). 
Colonel Ricci reminisces about his cousin to Giorgio, and we move back 
into the past to the days when Fosca still had illusions about her 
looks, expectations about her prospects. We learn how she fell in love 
with a handsome gigolo, how he married her for her money and how he 
abandoned her (Flashback). 
Clara, meanwhile, has written Giorgio another letter (Sunrise Letter), 
which he reads as he makes his way to a desolate mountain heath. No 
sooner has he sat down than Fosca appears. When she tries to kiss him, 
he lashes out at her in anger (Is This What You Call Love?). She 
collapses, and he is so angry that he almost abandons her in the pouring 
The other soldiers gossip about Giorgio and Fosca coming back to camp 
soaked to the skin (Soldiers' Gossip). 
The rain, the ordeal of getting Fosca back to camp, perhaps the exposure 
to Fosca's contagious emotions - all have conspired to give Giorgio a 
fever. The Doctor attends to him and informs him that he is being sent 
home to Milan to recuperate (Transition). 
Clara happily anticipates his sick leave (Forty Days). 
Giorgio, still in poor health, boards the train for Milan, only to be 
followed once again by Fosca. They have an angry exchange. Giorgio 
informs her that he will never love her. He begs her to give him up. She 
explains that she cannot (Loving You). Giorgio is moved by the force of 
her emotions; ultimately, he takes her back to the camp (Transition). 
Startled to see Giorgio back so soon, the Doctor warns him that he must 
stop seeing Fosca, that she poses a threat to his mental and physical 
health. The Doctor will have him permanently transferred if he doesn't 
take his leave. The other soldiers gossip about Giorgio's 40-day sick 
leave (Soldiers' Gossip). 
Giorgio goes to Milan and tells Clara he will not take his full leave - a
decision that provokes Clara to question him jealously about Fosca. 
Giorgio responds by asking Clara to leave her husband and run away with 
him, but she demurs. 
Giorgio returns to the post and attends a Christmas party there. The 
festive mood is broken by the Colonel's receipt of orders recalling 
Giorgio to military headquarters. To the astonishment of the Colonel and 
the other soldiers, the news sends Fosca flying into Giorgio's arms, 
begging him not to leave. She rushes from the room in tears. 
The Colonel, outraged, orders Giorgio to wait for him as he leaves the 
room to attend to his cousin. Stunned, Giorgio reads Clara's latest 
letter (Farewell Letter). 
The Colonel returns from Fosca's bedroom, having discovered the letter 
Fosca dictated to Giorgio. He accuses Giorgio of leading his poor cousin 
on and challenges him to a duel. 
That evening, Giorgio returns to Fosca's bedroom and finally surrenders 
to the passion she has awakened in his heart. He loved Clara, he tells 
her, but no one has ever loved him like Fosca (No One Has Ever Loved Me
). Knowing the act of love might very well kill her, Fosca leads Giorgio 
to the bed, where they embrace, their passion consummated at last. 
The duel takes place the following morning. Giorgio wounds Colonel 
Ricci, then responds with a scream - a scream eerily reminiscent of 
Fosca's earlier hysterical outbursts. 
Several months pass, and Giorgio, who has been recovering from his 
breakdown, is sitting alone at a small table in a sanatorium. A nurse 
enters and hands him a letter and a box. The letter is from the Doctor. 
Colonel Ricci, he writes, recovered from the wound he received in the 
duel; Fosca died three days after her night of passion. She has left 
Giorgio a letter and a box containing some of her possessions, which the 
Doctor has enclosed. Dreamlike, the other characters in the story 
appear, as Giorgio begins reading from Fosca's final letter. Her voice 
gradually joins his. She then appears beside him, and together they sing 
of their love (Finale). 
The company slowly walks off, followed by Fosca, leaving Giorgio alone 
at his table. 
- Michiko Kakutani


Happiness Pt. 1
By: Tom Kelly
I Read
By: Tom Kelly

Passion Links

Passion Page
Very Nice Site...
Stephen Sondheim Stage
Great info...
Sondheim Guide/ Passion
Good Site...
Musicals. Net
Lots of good info (Lyrics, etc.)...
***Volutanie's Musical Page...***
Come and visit my Main Homepage and find other musical pages.

Search for the Album or Artist of Your Choice!
Album Title
Song Title

powered by lycos Search: Tripod The Web  
Software Search