Opera lovers on Thursday night showed their appreciation and enthusiasm for the new production of Puccini’s famous Tosca by stamping their feet, cheering and even whistling.

Directed by John Bell, Artistic Director of Bell Shakespeare and one of Australia’s most distinguished actors, Tosca is the first mainstage production that he has directed for Opera Australia.

John Bell says, “Tosca is not a melodrama.  It is a story of oppression, resistance and a woman blackmailed to save the life of a loved one.  It is a heart‐wrenching story that has been enacted countless times throughout history.  The era I have chosen, the German Occupation of Rome during World War II, is a time close enough for its history and images to stir our memory and our emotions.  Tosca is a dark story, but one alleviated by Puccini’s glorious music, which celebrates the heroism of those who choose death over loss of liberty.”

The staging was beautiful, a real pleasure for the eyes.  Magnificent singing, wonderful music, spectacular sets and costumes, an evening to take your breath away.

Set designer Michael Scott‐Mitchell and costume designer Teresa Negroponte have created a monumental staging, set in Mussolini’s 1940s Italy, complete with a replica of the ornate ceiling of Sant’Andrea della Valle.

This opera is one of the best I have seen from Opera Australia and should be recommended to those who are not regular opera attendees.

A night to be remembered for a long time.   Sandra Tiltman

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