Accessibility links


Sign In
  • Home
  • News
  • What did you think of Puccini's Tosca live in cinemas 2018?

What did you think of Puccini's Tosca live in cinemas 2018?

Audience responses to The Royal Opera's live cinema broadcast shown across the world.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

7 February 2018 at 10.35pm | 48 Comments

What did you think of Tosca live in cinemas?
Share your thoughts via the comments below.

Tosca runs until 3 March. Tickets are now sold out, but returns may become available.

The next production to be broadcast as part of the ROH Live Cinema Season 2017/18 is The Royal Ballet's The Winter's Tale, which will be shown on 28 February 2018. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list.

If you experienced technical issues during this live cinema relay, please email details to

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

7 February 2018 at 10.35pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged by Jonathan Kent, live stream, livestream, Production, Puccini, Social Media, Tosca, your reaction

This article has 48 comments

  1. Dirk Deschoolmeester responded on 7 February 2018 at 10:46pm Reply

    Great performance by all !

  2. Peter Jones responded on 7 February 2018 at 11:18pm Reply

    Superb. Great performances both vocally and acting

  3. Mrs Giulia Breakwell responded on 7 February 2018 at 11:22pm Reply

    Powerful and dramatic performances from outstanding soloists. The best I’ve seen !!

  4. Jane Sumner responded on 7 February 2018 at 11:29pm Reply

    A spellbinding production, loved every minute.

  5. Valerie Knight responded on 7 February 2018 at 11:31pm Reply

    Ballet lover really but have enjoyed a few opera relays now. Joseph Calleja and E Lucevan was the draw for me tonight and he was very moving. Thoroughly enjoyed the whole of Tosca and have just booked for the live relay of Carmen. You'll make an opera lover of me yet!

  6. Pat Warsop responded on 7 February 2018 at 11:41pm Reply

    How wonderful to be able to watch this amazing production of Tosca at the Odeon, Mansfield. Brilliant performances from Scarpia, Tosca and Cavaradossi. Well done!

  7. Sue Houghton responded on 7 February 2018 at 11:47pm Reply

    I watched the production from a very nearly full house in Platja D'Aro, Catalunya. It was wonderful to be able to experience this live performance of Tosca via cinema link and I applaud everyone who has made opera more accessible.
    The production was fantastic, full of drama and emotion. Loved Tosca, Scarpia and Cavaradotti. I also particularly enjoyed the interviews and background shows via YouTube in the run-up to the show. What more can I say, roll on the next show!!! Bravissimo!!!!

  8. Ali G responded on 7 February 2018 at 11:49pm Reply

    Amazing! I'm imagining the amount of work that's needed to produce such a performance including the fabulous scenery as well as the acting, singing and brilliant orchestra - we all loved it at Mansfield Odeon #ROHTosca

  9. Karin Pierce responded on 8 February 2018 at 12:55am Reply

    We thought the production was absolutely fantastic. The voices of all three main characters superb. 9Just felt that Scarpia over-used his eyes a little bit.) Also prefer him with short hair, as shown in some trailers. However, in the end it is the voice that counts. Superb acting on behalf of all three and, despite knowing the story-line really well, we sat on the edge of our seats. Really worthwhile throughout and thanks for giving not-quite-so-well-heeled folks the chance to see and hear such treasures sung in Italian.

    • Kate Reynolds responded on 8 February 2018 at 3:39pm

      I agree with your comments and actually would have preferred more long/medium shots as I found the close-ups overpowering. But beats sitting in the amphitheatre!

  10. Margaret Hayes responded on 8 February 2018 at 9:55am Reply

    #Scarpia ditch the wig! Italian police had uniforms even in the early 20th century and were smart. so ditch the frock coat too. Uniforms are much more menacing!

    Otherwise a splendid performance
    Liz Hayes. Bolton Greater Manchester

  11. Caroline Hoare responded on 8 February 2018 at 9:57am Reply

    I saw it at Vue cinema in Farnborough Hampshire . Spoilt for me by excessively loud sound -particularly from orchestra . At times painful . Not sure if its that particular cinema or balance problems your end ?

    However Finley absolutely magnificent !

    • Joseph Chadbourn (Cinema Account Officer) responded on 9 February 2018 at 10:39am

      Dear Caroline,

      Thank you for your feedback. It is a shame to hear that you experienced high volume during the Live cinema relay of Tosca.

      The ROH monitors all sound levels throughout the live broadcast and we can confirm that there were no sound disruptions present in the transmission leaving the ROH that evening.

      We will continue to encourage all cinemas to take the necessary steps in the hope of resolving this issue for future screenings.

      Best Regards,

      ROH Cinema Team

  12. Denise Ead responded on 8 February 2018 at 10:10am Reply

    Food for the soul!!
    Joseph Calleja had me in tears, what emotion in his beautiful voice. t was my first time to see a production of Tosca and l am still reeling the day after.
    A really great evening.

    Thank you

    Denise (watching in the cinema, Didsbury, Manchester.

  13. MaggieLiz responded on 8 February 2018 at 10:14am Reply

    Tosca’s rendition of Vissi d’arte was both masterful and exceptionally moving.

    Regarding the “pantomime overacting” by the protagonists referred to by a previous commenter - my view is that tragic Opera is melodrama, where characters, plots and emotions are all magnified and exaggerated for dramatic effect.

    Live cinema is a worthwhile experience, providing economic accessibility and, once you have suspended disbelief, close up intimacy.
    And you get home much more quickly afterwards!

  14. Caroline Assheton. responded on 8 February 2018 at 10:52am Reply

    I love these screenings, it brings a bit of fabulous Beauty, Optimism & Hope to gloomy places. I keep hoping it’ll inspire and encourage kids in the towns near me.XX Ps. Being short-sighted I love the closeups

  15. Michalae responded on 8 February 2018 at 11:07am Reply

    Absolutely stunningly breathtaking
    A roller coaster of emotion such passion portrayed by brilliant people.
    Goosebumps and tears were the order of the evening

  16. Reg Squires responded on 8 February 2018 at 11:24am Reply

    [This comment has been edited in line with our community guidelines]

    Disappointed with this performance particularly Adrianne Pieczonka whom I felt was wooden and had a poor rapport with Calleja.
    In the first act they are supposed to be lovers there was no spark between them, which, in my opinion, spoilt the the whole opera
    Her singing was disappointing and to my mind a little screechy when chasing the higher noes
    Gerald Finlay did an excellent job as Scarpia but his make-up failed to portray that powerful evil feeling.
    Finally I saw no reason for the soldier getting dressed as it added nothing to the scene.
    In conclusion the best Tosca I have seen is without doubt Georgiou who portrays Tosca wonderfully and you can believe her.

    • Tony Deacon responded on 9 February 2018 at 6:45pm

      Adrianne Pieczonka was just too matronly to be entirely convincing in the role. Sorry. Finley was superb: a quite chillingly psychopathic Scarpia, but I am already a huge fan. Calleja sang beautifully too. We are blessed with some wonderfully engaging theatrical tenors currently, with fabulous voices to match. Joseph Calleja is up there with the very best, IMO.

  17. Peter Barlev responded on 8 February 2018 at 12:02pm Reply

    Absolutely amazing! One of the best operas I’ve seen for a long while. Baron Scarpia was easily the best-performed character, not just evil but also insane.
    Thank you for a great night!

  18. Heather Prophet responded on 8 February 2018 at 1:01pm Reply

    The Everyman Cinema, Reigate was full to bursting and the management did a great job, with programmes neatly prepared and available on arrival. Our party was entranced by the whole performance - Joseph Calleja and Finlay were definitely the stand out highlights, and were both sensationally good. One or two of us would agree with Reg Squires that the passion was neither evident nor believable between the two lovers. This is especially apparent when the audience is witness to every nuance on the big screen at Cinema Livestream events. Well done to the chorus too - Tosca offers the chorus a back seat contribution only, but they are much appreciated nonetheless.

  19. Janet L Lyon responded on 8 February 2018 at 1:35pm Reply

    I did enjoy it but the last Tosca I saw was with Kaufmann Tyrfell & Angella G. Which was pretty hard to follow could nitpick costumes were horrible wigs horrible Scarpia was excellent

  20. Noreen M Cochrane responded on 8 February 2018 at 1:41pm Reply

    R.O.H Covent Garden.
    Whilst thoroughley enjoying TOSCA in
    Glasgow on 7 Feb. I feel urged to
    complain about the very annoying distraction of interviews with cast
    members etc.during both intervals. In
    fact this almost would prevent us from
    attending further operas were it to continue.
    Pls give this matter your considered

  21. b.lepka responded on 8 February 2018 at 3:09pm Reply

    Congratulations to the team and esp. "our" conductor Dan Ettinger - from Stuttgart

  22. Valerie Knight responded on 8 February 2018 at 3:27pm Reply

    Re Scarpia's wig - the Battle of Marengo was fought in 1800, i.e.very early 19th century so what police officers wore in early 20th century Italy is irrelevant!
    Wonderful performances last night. Wish the audience would applaud in Dorchester but they never do. The applause is all part of the overall experience for me and a release of all the pent up emotions.

  23. Peter Ferguson responded on 8 February 2018 at 3:48pm Reply

    Gerald Finlay was amazing as Scarpia, a revelation. Why did Joseph have to be dressed like a hobo, Cavardossi is supposed to be an artist and a glamorous role, look at Domingo, Kauffman etc. Also the stage was too darkly lit but Joseph Calleja made it all worth while.

  24. Astrid Steinmüller responded on 8 February 2018 at 4:14pm Reply

    Cinema audience should always keep in mind that they are acting for the stalls and the balconies, and that also make-up and wigs are not made for the camera coming as near as in a movie. Guess they are in pretty quandary - admirable to see these professionals presenting us with their body and soul. Thanks to the whole ROH team for a breathtaking opera night broadcasted around the globe.

  25. Robert Hague responded on 8 February 2018 at 5:13pm Reply

    I imagine the "overacting" and exaggerated expressions are what is needed to project in a big opera house and perhaps not suited to the big screen. Having been lucky enough to see Gheorghiu in the role on the 27th Jan at the ROH only Calleja's gold penetrated easily to the back of the house: the others were occasionally drowned by the orchestra. Only in the cinema did I hear the full beauty of Finley's voice. I, too, fill up at the mere hint that Calleja is about to sing!

  26. Joe and Louise Bugeja responded on 8 February 2018 at 5:29pm Reply

    We love being able to see ROH screenings in our tiny part of West Wales and we love Joseph Calleja, whose singing was superb. Not as keen on Adrienne, especially her acting, which was AWFUL and slightly ruined it for me. Also, the orchestra drowned out some of the singing at times, which was a great shame - Joseph's voice should never be covered up. Thank you so much for the live broadcasts - we are so lucky to get them.

  27. Alison Watson responded on 8 February 2018 at 10:03pm Reply

    Although this was a powerful production and cast, the emphasis on close-ups again detracts from the overall experience. Astrid Steinmuller points out that the cast are acting for the stalls and the balconies etc. So why doesn't the filming director bear this in mind and not zoom in to such an extent. During the first aria 'Recondita armonia' the sacristan is also 'singing' but was not evident on the screen at all.

  28. Stephanie Taylor responded on 8 February 2018 at 11:41pm Reply

    Such a threatening Scarpia he stayed with me all day. Those malevolent eyes! Fabulously energetic production it was captivating.

  29. Sue Rowley responded on 9 February 2018 at 8:00am Reply

    Tosca is surely the best opera ever written and this performance was wonderfully dramatic. All three main characters sang beautifully. The only slight criticism is Scarpia's dodgy wig! I'm not sure in 1800 people would have had that hair style but, that apart, the whole production was superb. From 'Tre sbirri, una carozza' through to the 'Te deum' Scarpia made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! Wonderful!

  30. Philip Frater responded on 9 February 2018 at 10:08am Reply

    Everything was wonderful except the close ups. Didn't want to see down the performers mouths. Wanted to see the whole set and stage, as if I were actually there in the theatre. Otherwise we'll done. I would think twice about watching at a cinema again, as I would not want all those annoying close ups. Remind your directed that he is there to show the opera in the whole, and not trying to win an Oscar for cinemaphotograpty. good luck next time. Phil from Welwyn

  31. Julia Goode responded on 10 February 2018 at 4:22pm Reply

    I throughly enjoyed Tosca especially the wonderful Joseph Calleja. All 3 main characters were superb- Loved "The stars" beautifully sung with such emotion by one of the best tenors in the world. Audience in Norwich were entranced !.

  32. J J-B responded on 10 February 2018 at 7:22pm Reply

    Sorry, late to the party but had to say what a brilliant production I thought it was. Scarpia a totally rounded don't like to think what he got up to in the evenings but suspect his browsing history wouldn't be comfortable reading. And for the first time E Lucevan was not just a lovely piece but an essential, urgent reaction to trying to find final words to write. Breathtaking.

  33. Jules responded on 10 February 2018 at 11:44pm Reply

    Unfortunately, the audiences in cinemas around the world (who mostly don't have the opportunity to experience an opera live in a theatre) did not get a sense of what a real Tosca should be like with Pieczonka in the title role. It would have been a whole different story with Gheorghiu as Tosca in the live cinema broadcast. Pity!

    • John Busbridge responded on 11 February 2018 at 5:46pm

      Entirely agree! Sadly, neither Tosca nor Scarpia had the slightest idea of what their characters should be. And has the end of Act 1 ever been so underwhelming?

  34. Mary Dickens responded on 11 February 2018 at 3:18pm Reply

    First time seeing Tosca in the cinema. AMAZING

  35. Mary Dickens responded on 11 February 2018 at 3:22pm Reply

    First time seeing Tosca At the cinema Harrow. Absolutely fantastic.

  36. William responded on 11 February 2018 at 5:56pm Reply

    Just come back from the encore screening of Tosca. Absolutely wonderful performances from Joseph Calleja, who seems to me to be the natural successor to Pavarotti with his open vowel sounds. Must invite him back for the next revival of Turandot. Also Gerald Finley, who oozed malice. as Scarpia. Absolutely wonderful acting and fascinating to hear his interview explaining how he got into character. Adrianne Piezconca good but not quite up to the very high standards of her two male colleagues. Orchestra as usual at Covent Garden was fantastic. Many thanks to all involved.

  37. Brenda Parry responded on 11 February 2018 at 7:08pm Reply

    I am not sure that the amplification is correct. Some singing, particularly of the higher-range voices is harsh and strident. Is this a problem with the opera house or with my local cinema. Perhaps some singers are using microphones ( perish the thought) Please will you look at this issue by visiting the local venue to assess what we opera lovers experience.

    • Hi Brrenda,

      The sound team on the music part of the relay (Producer, Engineer and assistant) visit a local cinema on the day of the relay to listen back to the rehearsal (through the whole transmission chain - so exactly as it will be that evening) and tweak the sound. Sadly, not all cinemas sound the same, so some cinemas may sound more harsh than others - this is something we are aware of and do our best to mitigate. All cinemas are supposed to have a set level for playing out films and our relays, although this is adjustable, and we find a lot of cinemas do set it differently (usually quieter) than we suggest.

      No singers were amplified in the house for Tosca (it is a very rare occurrence, usually only for dialogue and really just for clarity), so the only microphones in use were for the broadcast. We use a combination of head worn microphones (which provide good clarity, but sound very close, so can't really be used on their own) and stage microphones (which provide a good sense of space, but, particularly when the singers are more upstage, can sound rather distant and not match the pictures) and a lot of the effort is finding a good blend between the two. It is live as well, so it is as much a performance for the sound team as everyone else!

      Hope that helps,


      Mark Thackeray
      Broadcast Engineer (and assistant sound engineer on Tosca), Royal Opera House

  38. Alexis responded on 11 February 2018 at 7:11pm Reply

    Saw Tosca today in Camberley, wonderful! thoroughly enjoyed it, Joseph Callaja was magnificent (Not just because he is a fellow Maltese).
    But can somebody tell me who the young boy was in school uniform when the cast took their bows, did I miss something?

  39. catherine craven responded on 11 February 2018 at 7:42pm Reply

    First experience of Tosca here at Cardiff. It was mesmerising. I was lost in the magic of the performance. Amazing music and the story unfolding was thrilling. Diolch.

  40. Diana Mitchell responded on 11 February 2018 at 9:50pm Reply

    Wonderful. I worked at the ROH in the sixties and it was great to see such a fantastic production of this wonderful Opera with such an outstanding cast

  41. Jules di Islington responded on 12 February 2018 at 1:08am Reply

    For me, Pieczonka was really excellent in the role. Her performance was so affecting.
    All of the principals were outstanding, as was the ROH chorus and orchestra. Good production too. I don't get to Covent Garden so much these days so thanks ROH for these live transmissions to my local cinema.

  42. Ann Nicholson responded on 15 March 2018 at 10:31am Reply

    I do not like so many close ups where you can almost see the singer's tonsils! Please try and stream it as if we were in the stalls with fewer close ups.
    Loved the opera - one of my favourites.

  43. Andrew McMillan responded on 8 April 2018 at 5:24pm Reply

    Really enjoyed this. Any plans for broadcast or DVD release.

Leave a reply to b.lepka · Cancel

Your email will not be published

Website URL is optional