With the sadistic police chief Scarpia, Giacomo Puccini enriched opera literature with one of its most abysmal characters: a "bigoted libertine, who fires up his lechery behind sanctimonious demeanour", characterises the painter Cavaradossi, who falls into Scarpia's clutches when he helps a political prisoner escape. But for Scarpia, Cavaradossi is only bait through which he hopes to finally subdue the celebrated singer Tosca. A perfidious cat-and-mouse game for the life of her lover begins, in which there will be no escape for Tosca.
In an unleashed frenzy of sound, Puccini drives his protagonists mercilessly through a hurricane of emotional states of emergency. In 1900, the Italian composer put love, hate, lust, hope and despair into a score that has lost none of its pull to this day.