Editors' review

May 21, 2017

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Amanda Echalaz as the title role in Tosca, The Royal Opera © ROH/Tristram Kenton, 2013

Amanda Echalaz as Tosca in Tosca © ROH 2016. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

Najmiddin Mavlyanov as Cavaradossi in Tosca © ROH 2016. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

Production Photo of Tosca © ROH 2016. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

Angela Gheorghiu as Tosca in Tosca © ROH 2016. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

Riccardo Massi as Cavaradossi in Tosca in Tosca © ROH 2016. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

Samuel Youn as Scarpia as Tosca in Tosca © ROH 2016. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

Samuel Youn as Scarpia and Angela Gheorghiu as Tosca in Tosca © ROH 2016. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

Samuel Youn as Scarpia and Donald Maxwell as Sacristan in Tosca © ROH 2016. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

Hubert Francis as Spoletta Tosca in Tosca © ROH 2016. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

15 January—3 March 2018
Main Stage

Three casts, led by Adrianne Pieczonka, Angela Gheorghiu and Martina Serafin and conducted by Dan Ettinger and Plácido Domingo, star in The Royal Opera’s production of Puccini’s thriller.

When to see it

The Story

The painter Mario Cavaradossi helps a fugitive escape – and so attracts the attention of Scarpia, the sadistic Chief of Police. Scarpia captures Cavaradossi and has him tortured within earshot of his lover, the singer Tosca.

Read more… (Contains spoilers)


From its strident 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, including ‘Vissi d’arte’ and ‘E lucevan le stelle’. Giacomo Puccini’s dramatic work was a hit with audiences on its 1900 premiere and it remains one of the most performed of all operas – and with its gripping plot and glorious music, it’s easy to see why.

A candle-lit church, Scarpia’s gloomy study with its hidden torture chamber and the false optimism of a Roman dawn: Jonathan Kent’s handsome production throws into relief the ruthlessly taut drama, as the tension is wound up towards its fateful conclusion. Puccini’s meticulously researched score is infused with the same authentic detail, from distant cannon fire during the Act I Te Deum to tolling church bells and the sounds of a firing squad.

News and features

  1. 30 January 2017

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  2. 27 January 2016

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  3. 27 January 2016

    Odessan–born soprano replaces Amanda Echalaz in the role of Tosca.

  4. 21 January 2016

    Romanian soprano replaces Amanda Echalaz in the role of Tosca.

  5. 11 January 2016

    A stunning musical depiction of Heaven and Hell closes Act I of Puccini's iconic Roman opera.

  6. 11 January 2016

    What did you think of Jonathan Kent's production of Puccini's classic opera?

View more news and features

On Wikipedia

Original poster, depicting the death of Scarpia

Tosca (Italian pronunciation: [ˈtoska; ˈtɔska]) is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. It premiered at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome on 14 January 1900. The work, based on Victorien Sardou's 1887 French-language dramatic play, La Tosca, is a melodramatic piece set in Rome in June 1800, with the Kingdom of Naples's control of Rome threatened by Napoleon's invasion of Italy. It contains depictions of torture, murder and suicide, as well as some of Puccini's best-known lyrical arias. Puccini saw Sardou's play when it was touring Italy in 1889 and, after some vacillation, obtained the rights to turn the work into an opera in 1895. Turning the wordy French play into a succinct Italian opera took four years, during which the composer repeatedly argued with his librettists and publisher. Tosca premiered at a time of unrest in Rome, and its first performance was delayed for a day for fear of disturbances. Despite indifferent reviews from the critics, the opera was an immediate success with the public. Musically, Tosca is structured as a through-composed work, with arias, recitative, choruses and other elements musically woven into a seamless whole. Puccini used Wagnerian leitmotifs (short musical statements) to identify characters, objects and ideas. While critics have frequently dismissed the opera as a facile melodrama with confusions of plot—musicologist Joseph Kerman famously called it a "shabby little shocker"—the power of its score and the inventiveness of its orchestration have been widely acknowledged. The dramatic force of Tosca and its characters continues to fascinate both performers and audiences, and the work remains one of the most frequently performed operas. Many recordings of the work have been issued, both of studio and live performances.

Abstract taken from the Wikipedia article Tosca, available under a Creative Commons license.


Thanks to

Generous philanthropic support from

Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet and The Mikheev Charitable Trust

How to support the Royal Opera House


There are gunshots during Act III of this production

Running time

The performance lasts about 3 hours, including two intervals


Sung in Italian with English surtitles

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Music Giacomo Puccini Libretto Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica Director Jonathan Kent Designer Paul Brown Lighting designer Mark Henderson

At a glance

Art Form Opera


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