Arnold Schoenberg juggled multiple national and religious identities during his long creative life: Austrian, German, Jewish, Protestant, American. Born into a Jewish family in 1874 in Vienna, capital of the diverse Austro-Hungarian Empire, he died as an American citizen in Los Angeles in 1951. Although his native language was German, he never possessed either Austrian or German citizenship. He disliked Vienna, the city with which he is most strongly associated, and lived for long periods in Berlin. When the country of his birth dissolved in 1918 at the end of World War I, he became in a real way stateless.
“The less she knows the better.” She, of course, is Tosca. As her lover Cavaradossi knows all too well, Tosca, the temperamental diva-heroine of Puccini’s passionate tale of political idealism and corruption, is not a political animal. Guileless and consumed by her art, she is too innocent and trusting to keep the secrets revolutionaries must keep. Cavaradossi makes this comment at the beginning of Act I to his fellow conspirator, the rebel Angelotti, on the run from the Roman police force. Cavaradossi fears if they share with the well-meaning chatterbox Tosca the details of their plotting against the tyrannical regime recently installed in Rome, she will inadvertently expose their plans and endanger their lives.