An introduction to Tosca

An opera that’s endured as a favourite throughout the decades, Puccini’s Tosca is the essence of opera boiled down. It’s all here: romance, drama, gorgeous sets and beautiful costumes. If you’re a fan of theatre that tells a human story while still giving you a spectacle, you’ll love Tosca.

Read up on Puccini’s Tosca before our 2022/23 Season production.

With tickets starting from just £10, book yours now for Puccini’s Tosca at the London Coliseum from 30 September – 4 November 2023.

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Though our tale may follow the feisty Tosca, when our opera opens we meet the lone artist Cavaradossi, our titular heroine’s lover, and a painter by trade. When Angelotti, escaped convict and political dissident, stumbles into the church Cavaradossi is working in, the artist offers aid and a place to hide from chief of police, the Baron Scarpia. 

Shortly after, the villainous Scarpia enters, knowing that his prey was here shortly beforehand, and that his artist friend is implicit in aiding Angelotti. Sensing an opportunity when opera singer (and Cavaradossi’s lover) Tosca arrives, he begins a game of cat and mouse with the primadonna that leads to disaster. Who will survive? Will Tosca get her man? Will Scarpia recapture his prey? 

Our production is coming to us from Finnish National Opera, bringing a lush classic staging of the opera to the London Coliseum – think Italianate ceilings, ornate stonework and turn of the 19th Century costuming, in all their extravagant elegance. 

From the first scene, set within the church of Sant’Andrea della Valle, to the finale set atop  the Castel Sant’Angelo, our production depicts these beautiful real locations in all their opulence and grandeur, a fitting backdrop against with Tosca fights for her freedom. 

Take a look at the gallery from the our production, to get a sense for what you’re in for.

Set entirely within 48 hours, Tosca happens in the balmy days of mid-June 1800, in the years shortly after the French Revolution. Napoleon, fresh from victory in France, invaded Rome without opposition 1798, setting up a republic and exiling the reigning Pope, leading to the Church entering a time of turmoil.

In the time of Tosca, there is neither a papal government nor Pope, and news of Napoleon’s initial defeat (before reinforcements arrive) at the hands of Austrian forces in the Battle of Marengo is about to arrive to Rome.

A Tosca with Loy at the helm

There is no finer way to absorb this operatic classic than this staging, especially with Christof Loy at the helm for our production. Known for his versatility, Loy has directed worldwide, winning the International Opera Award for best opera director in 2017. 

Book your tickets now for Puccini’s Tosca, at the London Coliseum from 30 September – 4 November 2022.

ENO's Tosca, sung in English at the London Coliseum