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Jonathan Kent's production for The RoyalOpera captures the dangerous politicalturbulence of Rome in 1800. The Chief ofPolice, Scarpia - one of the most malevolentvillains in opera - ruthlessly pursues andtortures enemies of the state. His dark,demonic music contrasts with the expansivemelodies of the idealistic lovers, Tosca andCavaradossi, who express their passion insublime arias, including 'Vissi d'arte' and 'Elucevan le stelle'. Giacomo Puccini's dramaticwork was a hit with audiences on its 1900premiere and it remains one of the mostperformed of all operas - with its grippingplot and glorious music, it's easy to see why.A candle-lit church, Scarpia's gloomystudy with its hidden torture chamber andthe false optimism of a Roman dawn: thishandsome production throws into relief theruthlessly taut drama, as the tension is woundup towards a fateful conclusion. Puccini'smeticulously researched score is infusedwith the same authentic detail, from distantcannon fire during the Act I Te Deum totolling church bells and the sounds of a firingsquad.