• Giacomo Puccini
  • July 2022
  • Dublin


Sinéad Campbell Wallace stars in Puccini’s high-octane opera.

A celebrated opera singer. Her lover, a famous painter. His friend, an escaped prisoner. And a manipulative, power-drunk chief of police who has dark intents for all three. What could go wrong? Everything! Puccini’s most concentrated opera is high in drama and rich in spine-tingling arias.

Sung in Italian with English surtitles.

Running time: 3 hours with 2 intervals.

Tosca...In Focus, a free online introduction to the opera, takes place on 7 July.

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“Almighty God touched me with his little finger and said: ‘Write for the theatre — mind, only for the theatre.’ And I have obeyed the supreme command” - Giacomo Puccini
“she is indestructible, stunning, thrilling” - Süddeutsche Zeitung on Sinéad Campbell Wallace
“Pittas’s formidable vocal and theatrical talents” - South Florida Classical Review on Dimitri Pittas
“superb . . . his deep tone penetrating and unsettling” - GoldenPlec on Tómas Tómasson

Presented in partnership with the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.

This production was created in association with Wrocław Opera.


Cast & Creative Team


Tosca Sinéad Campbell Wallace
Cavaradossi Dimitri Pittas
Scarpia Tómas Tómasson
Angelotti John Molloy
Sacristan Graeme Danby
Spoletta Michael Bell
Sciarrone Rory Dunne
Jailer Fionn Ó hAlmhain
Shepherd Boy Joe Dwyer

Creative Team

Conductor Nil Venditti
Director Michael Gieleta
Set & Costume Designer Gary McCann
Lighting Designer Ciaran Bagnall
Chorus Director Amy Ryan
Assistant Director Davey Kelleher
Répétiteur Aoife O’Sullivan
Language Coach Annalisa Monticelli
Irish National Opera Chorus
Children’s Chorus Members of Independent Theatre Workshop Chorus and Palestrina Choir
Irish National Opera Orchestra


The action takes place on the night of the battle of Mareno on 17 June 1800 at the tipping point of the collapse of the secular Roman Republic and the reimposition of the Church State supported by its ally, the Kingdom of Naples. For this production the post-war setting, but not the locations, has been changed to the mid 20th century.


The church of Sant'Andrea della Valle

Angelotti, the Consul of the defeated Napoleonic Roman Republic, has just escaped from the fortress of Castel Sant’Angelo. His confederate sister, the beautiful Marchesa Attavanti, has left him the key to the hiding place in the family chapel. The grumpy Sacristan bustles about and the painter Mario Cavaradossi gets to work on his voluptuous picture of Mary Magdalene.

He has used Marchesa Attavanti as his model because she has been frequenting the church. He sings of being confused, enamoured of the blond beauty’s allure yet committed to his love for Tosca. The Sacristan is appalled by the sacrilegious actions of the atheist Cavaradossi and the rest of his political faction.

When the Sacristan leaves, Angelotti appears from the chapel; he is so exhausted after being tortured in prison that he nearly faints. Cavaradossi recognises his former leader and decides to rescue him. Simultaneously Tosca can be heard outside the church doors. Angelotti has to conceal himself in the chapel.

Having been locked out of the church, Tosca is suspicious that Cavaradossi may have had a secret romantic tête-à-tête in the church. He soothes her and they look forward to being together in his villa after her performance that night. She is about to leave when she sees the painting. Her jealousy is aroused when she recognises the model as the Marchesa Attavanti. Cavaradossi assures her that he does not know the woman, saying he simply saw her praying in church and painted her. Tosca leaves, warning him playfully to repaint the picture to resemble her.

Angelotti emerges from the chapel and reveals that the Marchesa Attavanti is his sister and her presence in the church was part of his escape plan. Cavaradossi offers him refuge in his villa outside the city, but before they can leave, a cannon shot signals that the escape has been discovered. Cavaradossi leaves the church with Angelotti and is determined to fight for his leader’s life. They both express their hatred of Scarpia, the sadistic, lecherous head of the Secret State Polic,.

The Sacristan is overjoyed by Napoleon’s defeat at Mareno and calls the children and the clergy to celebrate the victory. Their revels are interrupted by the arrival of Scarpia and his cronies. A search confirms his suspicions that Angelotti had taken refuge in the church. He finds Attavanti’s fan and the painting in the church left behind in haste by Cavaradossi and Angelotti.

Tosca returns to tell her lover that she will be late that night because, instead of the regular performance, she has to sing in a cantata for the Queen of Naples. She is distraught to find Cavaradossi gone. Scarpia, who lusts after Tosca, tricks her into believing that Cavaradossi was having a tryst with Attavanti. Tosca, persuaded that Cavaradossi has been unfaithful, sets off for the villa to confront the alleged lovers. Sending his agents after her, Scarpia congratulates himself on the success of his plans, then joins the celebrants in the Te Deum.


Scarpia's office at the Villa Farnese

Scarpia is eating his supper and waiting for his agents to bring in Angelotti from Cavaradossi’s villa. He sends a note inviting Tosca to see him at his office after she has sung the cantata for the Queen. He is furious when his agent Spoletta confesses that they have not found Angelotti. Scarpia is mollified by the news that Cavaradossi has been arrested instead.

Cavaradossi denies knowing anything about Angelotti. Scarpia orders an interrogation that can use any means necessary. He is unsuccessful in his attempt to manipulate Tosca to reveal Angelotti's whereabouts, but she caves in when Cavaradossi’s torture begins and she reveals Angelotti’s hiding place.

The news is brought that Napoleon had after all had won the Battle of Marengo. Cavaradossi’s triumphant response makes Scarpia order his immediate execution. At first Scarpia ignores Tosca's plea for mercy, but then reveals that the price for Cavaradossi's life is Tosca herself. Despite her revulsion, in her despair she can see no way out. Her resistance only makes her more desirable in Scarpia's eyes.

In her presence he gives the orders for a fake execution, expressing himself in such a way that it is clear to Spoletta that the execution is not to be faked. Tosca demands a safe-conduct for herself and Cavaradossi, so that they may leave Rome for ever. As Scarpia writes it, she notices a knife on the table, and as he is about to rape her, she stabs him.


Castel Sant'Angelo towards dawn

The city’s turbulent nightlife is coming to an end. A young boy is seen singing as he wanders through the streets of Rome at dawn. Church bells announce the preparations for the execution. Cavaradossi bribes a jailer to let him write his last letter to Tosca. He is out of his depth as he realises that his longing for Tosca means more to him than an imminent threat of death.

Tosca runs in with the safe-conduct and their belongings, ready to embark with Cavaradossi on a ship as soon as the fake execution has taken place. She tells Cavaradossi that she has killed Scarpia. Explaining to him the reasons for the mock execution, she instructs him how to fall and wait till the soldiers have gone.

Cavaradossi is shot with what she believes to be blank bullets, and when he falls he does not move. Tosca discovers he is dead. Angry cries indicate that Scarpia's death had been discovered. Scarpia’s henchmen run in in pursuit of Tosca, but she rushes to the top of the citadel ready to take her own life rather than be caught.

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