Giacomo Puccini

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Secrets, lies, and a fatal ultimatum

Tosca, Rome’s star opera singer, is deeply in love with charismatic artist Cavaradossi. When he is arrested and tortured by Scarpia, the corrupt Chief of Police, Tosca becomes the victim of cruel blackmail: she plots her revenge, but the consequences are more terrible than she can imagine…

One of the world’s most popular operas, Puccini’s melodrama of lust and love, cruelty and self-sacrifice, portrays people at their best and very worst. The high-octane score veers from tenderness to brutal power and includes Tosca’s famous passionate aria ‘Vissi d’arte’.

Edward Dick‘s new production is played out beneath the domes and frescoes of Renaissance Rome and features a stellar cast including Giselle Allen (Cavalleria rusticana), Mexican tenor Rafael Rojas (Un ballo in maschera) and British baritone Robert Hayward (Andrea Chénier).


From £15 to £75*

Running time
Approximately 2 hours 40 minutes (including two intervals)

Sung in Italian with English titles

Supported by
Friends of Opera North

Pre-show talks
Leeds: Fri 28 Sep, Thu 11 & Sat 13 Oct, (6.30pm–7.00pm) — free; please book in advance with Box Office or when booking your tickets.

*Prices vary by venue. Booking fees may apply.

What the critics said...

“This is drama to hit you in the gut, and it chimes with the demands of Puccini’s music…superb…”

★★★★★ — The Independent

“Vocally and dramatically all three principals are rock solid… an unforgettable operatic experience.”

★★★★★ — The Stage

“…a thumping success…only rarely will you encounter a performance with such brutal energy and force.”

★★★★ — The Telegraph

“…three exceptionally fine central performances… it’s compelling stuff, disquieting, creepy and exciting in equal measure.”

★★★★ — The Guardian

“Right from those tumbling incisive first chords, this Tosca is lurid, thunderous, oppressive, exhilarating.”

★★★★ — The Times

“Nab a seat near the front of the stalls and hold on tight… Sonically it’s astonishing…”

★★★★ — The Arts Desk


Accessible information

Audio notes: The following introduction includes a synopsis, descriptions of the sets and costumes, a list of the cast and production team, and some final information including venues, dates and times of the audio-described performances.

Error with this block: Cast


Rome is ruled by an authoritarian government. Its chief of police Baron Scarpia suppresses all dissent. When Angelotti, an escaped political prisoner, seeks refuge in a church, he meets the artist Mario Cavaradossi, who agrees to help him.

Cavaradossi’s lover is Floria Tosca, one of Rome’s most adored singers. Baron Scarpia has long obsessed over her. Suspecting that Cavaradossi is linked to the escape of Angelotti, he sees an opportunity to pursue his desires for Tosca.

Cavaradossi is arrested. Tosca seeks out Baron Scarpia and begs him to let her lover go. In her desperation she reveals Angelotti’s whereabouts, but this implicates her lover in a capital crime.

Scarpia offers Tosca an ultimatum. He will spare her lover, but she must give herself to him. Tosca, seeing no other solution, agrees and the Baron sends a command to the firing squad to load their rifles with blanks. He then goes to embrace Tosca, but she grabs a knife and stabs him to death.

Tosca goes to Cavaradossi in his cell and tells him that he must play along with a mock-execution, after which they will be allowed to flee Rome. Cavaradossi is led away, the firing squad load their rifles, aim and fire. Cavaradossi’s body falls.

Tosca realises that Scarpia has betrayed her. Suddenly Scarpia’s men arrive, having discovered the Baron’s body. They rush to arrest Tosca, but she flees their grasp and leaps from a parapet to her death.


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