When Mario Cavaradossi agrees to help a fugitive escape, he sets in motion a chain of events that will lead to disaster for him, his lover Floria Tosca and the sadistic Scarpia, Chief of Police in Rome.
News and features
24 June 2014
Opera has always flirted with catastrophic events. We look at how opera composers and directors have faced the apocalypse.
20 June 2014
Come and hear great choral moments from opera for free in Trafalgar Square on Saturday 21 June 2014.
29 May 2014
Jonathan Kent and Paul Brown's painstaking attention to detail almost matches Puccini's.
21 May 2014
From Nagasaki harbour to the wide-open plains of Louisiana, Puccini was a master of evoking a sense of place.
13 May 2014
The conductor questions why we don't think of Puccini as a modern composer, despite his influence on Strauss, Schoenberg and Stravinsky.
11 May 2014
What did you think of Jonathan Kent's production of Puccini's classic thriller?
From its famous, dissonant opening chords, Tosca conjures up a world of political instability and menace. The Chief of Police, Scarpia – one of the most malevolent villains in opera – ruthlessly pursues and tortures enemies of the state. His dark, demonic music contrasts with the expansive melodies of the idealistic lovers, Tosca and Cavaradossi, who express their passion in sublime arias. Giacomo Puccini’s dramatic work was an instant hit with audiences on its 1900 premiere and it remains one of the most performed of all operas.
A candle-lit church, the darkness of a brooding study with its hidden torture chamber and the false optimism of a Roman dawn: Jonathan Kent’s naturalistic production throws into relief the ruthlessly taut drama, as the tension is wound up towards its fateful conclusion. Puccini’s score is infused with the same authentic detail, from distant canon fire during the Act I ‘Te Deum’ to tolling church bells and the sounds of a firing squad.