1998 - Bel Canto Opera’s production of


English libretto and stage direction by Tom Boyd

Orchestra conducted by the Music Director: William Bell


CLICK ABOVE to see the Tosca and Cavaradossi duet, ACT I xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx CLICK ABOVE to watch the end of ACT I


"Tom Boyd's Tosca for Bel Canto Opera is set in Nazi-occupied Italy and the move is fully vindicated by this production...this was a finely considered reading. Puccini enthusiasts should certainly see this spirited production" The Gloucestershire ECHO

"The setting in the Nazi era was a masterstroke. ... the audience was spellbound...a production to live in the memory." The Wilts. and Gloucestershire STANDARD

(click for more reviewws

Performances at :

The Rogers Theatre, Malvern 20 Feb. --- The Olympus Theatre, Gloucester 21 Feb. --- The Playhouse Theatre, Cheltenham - 24, 25, 27 & 28 Feb. 1998

Tom Boyd’s English version of the Tosca libretto is available from Bel Canto Opera for £5 ($10.00 US) + p & p



Tom Boyd's English version of TOSCA was performed by HIGH DESERT OPERA, Colorado, USA, July, 2008.

They report: "The July 26, 2008 performance of Tosca ended with a standing ovation and resounding "Bravos". Sung in English, the updated libretto by Tom Boyd of the U.K. was set in 1944 when the Nazis occupied Rome. A lot of people became opera lovers that night."

FLORIA TOSCA - Susan Black,


Col. SCARPIA - David Purcell

CESARE ANGELOTTI - Edward Chetcuti

SACRISTAN - Peter Wessen

Lt. Col. HERBERT KAPPLER - Martin Davis

Lt. SCIARRONE - Matthew Dimond-Brown

  CLICK ABOVE to see Tosca's bargain with Scarpia, end of ACT II xxxxxxx CLICK ABOVE to see the execution of Cavaradossi and the end of the opera

CAVARADOSSI: A woman’s grace and beauty, so diverse in its guises: brunette, my Floria - a goddess dark and sultry. And you, mysterious woman at prayer, with your hair blonde as angels’. Eyes like skies of palest blue...the converse of Tosca.

SACRISTAN: No shame or faith or honour! Comparing a mere mortal to the Madonna! That’s the height of presumption! Shows not a smidgin of pious religion! Most intellectuals are homosexuals or non-believers, Jews or bestial satyrs. Such men should hang as traitors. (with a nod towards Cavaradossi) I know a left-wing traitor when I see one!

ANGELOTTI: You! Cavaradossi! God must have sent you. You don’t recognise me? My years in Fascist prisons must have changed me. CAVARADOSSI: (with sudden recognition) Angelotti! Leader of the Italian Socialist Party! ANGELOTTI: I have escaped from Castel Sant’Angelo.

TOSCA: There’s no curse that’s worse than jealousy. Can’t you see how it’s torturing me?
CLICK HERE to see and hear this scene on YouTube
SACRISTAN: I have no time for that word "liberation". Kesselring calls for a great celebration. He has commanded a concert cantata with Floria Tosca...and you’ll be singing with her tonight! It’s time to practise! Cut out the noise. Go...go...you wretched boys!
SCARPIA: (to Kappler) Be quick now! Search every corner. He might still be hiding. Guard every exit. He must be recaptured.

SCARPIA: Go, Tosca! ’Twas Scarpia who set loose the soaring falcon that is your jealous nature. Every suspicion is a promise to Scarpia. Tosca’s soul belongs to Scarpia. Go, Tosca! Two birds with one stone. I, and I alone, invested with such power...I can do what I want with them. Him, I’ll dispose of. He’s condemned for his partisan treason. She’s what I prize! Her body quivering with love, weak in my clutches. I hold their fate in my hands. His, to the graveyard...and the other to Scarpia’s bed!

CLICK HERE to go to the YouTube screen above to see this scene
SCARPIA: Tosca...for you I forfeit God's salvation!

SCARPIA: (to Cavaradossi) I think it wise to reconsider.What do you think you’ll gain by showing vain defiance? It would be healthier if you simply told the honest truth. Let’s try again now.


SCARPIA: Mario...where's the Jew Angelotti? CAVARADOSSI: I don’t know. SCARPIA: I’m losing my patience! CAVARADOSSI: I don’t know!

KAPPLER: Time for German persuasion!


TOSCA: Art, love, music...that’s all I’ve lived for. No harm have I done to anyone living. Caring...forgiving...sharing whatever I could with the poor. Always at mass...at confession...for intercession, devoutly to our Holy Saints I’ve prayed...and countless offerings I’ve made...my jewels to grace Our Lady’s train. But in my desperation, this hour of tribulation, where, God, is Thy salvation from my pain?

TOSCA: This is the kiss of Tosca!

CLICK HERE to see and hear Tosca murder Scarpia, end of Act II

TOSCA: His soul’s with Satan. Now I must forgive him.

Before this little man, all Rome trembled!

KAPPLER: Tosca, you’ll pay dearly for the life of Scarpia.

CLICK HERE to see and hear the execution of Cavaradossi and the end of ACT III

TOSCA: With my own life!.

May Scarpia repent in hell!

(She throws herself off the castle ramparts and the curtain falls)




Audience spellbound as Tosca delights

"One of Bel Canto Opera's more ambitious undertakings was given a rapturous reception by audiences at Cheltenham's Playhouse Theatre. This was an updated English version of Puccini's Tosca set in the Rome of 1944. Indeed, as Puccini's intention was to write a tragic opera dominated by fear and oppression, the setting in the Nazi era was a masterstroke. From the Nazi violation of the church in the first act, through scenes of torture and attempted seduction, to the murder of Scarpia and the dramatic suicide of Tosca, the audience was spellbound...a production to live in the memory."

Stuart Russell


Tosca move is a winner

"Opera directors tinker at their peril since many in the audience will have firm ideas about what they want to see and hear. Tom Boyd’s Tosca for Bel Canto Opera is set in Nazi-occupied Italy and the move is fully vindicated by this production...this was a finely considered reading. Susan Black’s Tosca strengthened as the evening progressed and she always sang with conviction and emotional truth. David Purcell’s Scarpia was forceful and menacing. Cato Fordham’s Cavaradossi had effective lyricism and all three principals delivered the English text with clarity. Puccini enthusiasts should certainly see this spirited production"
Max Pilgrim

"Tosca, without a doubt the grimmest of Puccini's operas, received a well-rehearsed and resourcefully staged performance."

Robert South