7 no. saves icon · Classical & Opera

Puccini's thrilling opera returns with star singers Kristine Opolais, Angela Gheorghiu, Vittorio Grigòlo, Bryn Terfel and Marco Vratogna in the lead roles.


Puccini had toyed with setting Victorien Sardou's 'hit' play La Tosca (written for the great actress Sarah Bernhardt) from the early 1890s, but only began serious work following the premiere of La bohème in 1896. He employed Bohème's gifted librettists Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica to streamline Sardou's complicated plot and give depth to his rather stereotypical characters. The opera's premiere at Rome's Teatro Costanzi on 14 January 1900 was indifferently received by the critics, many of whom disliked Tosca's violence. However, the public loved it and it has remained hugely popular.

Puccini portrays the idealism of Tosca and her lover Cavaradossi through radiant, expansive music, including Act I's duet 'Qual occhio al mondo', Cavaradossi's ardent aria 'Recondita armonia' and Tosca's despairing Act II prayer 'Vissi d'arte'. Scarpia's music, by contrast, is dark and terrifying - from the demonic chords that open the opera to the violence of his Act II exchanges with Tosca. Jonathan Kent's production, with Paul Brown's stunning designs, perfectly evokes the troubled atmosphere of Rome in 1800 and Tosca's combination of sensuality and religious sincerity.

Critic reviews

Osca may not be as gruelling as some operas, but it grabs your heart from the vital opening chords and never relents

Broadway World

Passions fail to ignite in a well-sung but uninvolving performance of Puccini’s Roman tragedy

The Stage

Tosca Proves That Monoliths Aren't Just For Sci-Fi


Tosca is full of drama, excitement and fortissimo music and, due to the punchy plot and soaring orchestration, is a good introduction for those who are less familiar with opera

The Upcoming

Date & time

Show ended
Fri 24 May - Thu 20 Jun, 11.30am, 12pm & 7.30pm
Runtime: 3 hrs


Bow St, London WC2E 9DD London, UK · Get Directions
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