Puccini’s melodrama of lust and love, of cruelty and self-sacrifice, of freedom and repression, portrays human relationships at their best and at their worst with uncompromising force. Tosca, a star singer, is the lover of Cavaradossi, an artist. Scarpia, the corrupt Chief of Police and agent of the state, is obsessed with Tosca and willing to go to any lengths to have her. When Cavaradossi is arrested and tortured for helping an escaped political prisoner, Scarpia blackmails Tosca: she and Cavaradossi can go free if she will give herself to him. Violated, Tosca plots her revenge, but the consequences are more terrible than she can imagine. Puccini’s high-octane score – at times soaring and tender, at other times brutally powerful – has made Tosca one of the world’s most popular operas. Highlights include the pile-driving ‘Te Deum’, Tosca’s impassioned prayer ‘Vissi d’arte’, and Cavaradossi’s immensely moving farewell to life, ‘E lucevan le stelle’.