A singer in love, passionate, jealous and impulsive; a romantic painter, an idealist and a defender of liberty; a police chief with a lust for flesh, power and blood, ready to do anything to achieve his ends. Puccini artfully combines the ingredients of a melodrama written for Sarah Bernhardt and comes up with what might be called the opera of operas, a spectacle at once primitive and decadent. In a mythical but real Rome, from the shadows of the church of Sant' Andrea della Valle to the terrace of Castello Sant' Angelo, passions collide and tear all apart, mingling the erotic with the sacred, love with possession, theatre with life. Nothing is what is seems in Tosca: beautiful women who come to pray are conspirators, defeats are victories and mock executions are real. A sepctacular work which captures the essence of opera as few others do.