Watch Video of NI Opera's Tosca

NI Opera stage their first ever production in three different venues throughout the city of Derry-Londonderry this weekend

It’s a classic, but nowhere in the world has it ever been performed like this. Giacomo Puccini’s epic opera Tosca – which tells the tale of Rome under threat from Napoleon’s advancing army – is to be performed in Derry-Londonderry this weekend in three different venues.

The three acts of the production will be staged in St Columb’s Cathedral, the Guildhall and St Columb’s Hall respectively, and will feature some of Northern Ireland’s leading operatic and musical stars.

NI Opera - the newly-formed organisation dedicated to bringing ‘an ambitious and imaginative programme of productions and performances’ to audiences across Northern Ireland – have evidently started as they mean to go on. Ambitious? Check. Imaginative? Not half.

‘It really is a roller coaster ride of sex and violence,’ says NI Opera Artistic Director, Oliver Mears. ‘There’s some wonderful, passionate music in it. There’s a lot of death – there’s a lot of blood and gore, which people always enjoy. It’s a very exciting opera, and hopefully it’s an exciting production as well.’

Puccini’s Tosca – which is considered to be his masterpiece – was adapted from Victorien Sardou’s 1887 French-language play, La Tosca, in 1889. It is, perhaps, fitting that this new production is being staged in Derry-Londonderry – a city that has experienced its fair share of invasions since its protective Walls were erected in 1619.

‘We really wanted to bring the opera to Derry, because there’s been a perception that opera has only happened in a couple of areas in Northern Ireland,’ adds Mears. 'There are so many fantastic buildings here [in Derry] with historic associations and amazing atmospheres, and we wanted to use those associations and atmospheres for each act of Puccini’s masterpiece.’

NI Opera's production of Tosca runs from Thursday, March 31 to Saturday, April 2. Tickets are available via CultureNorthernIreland's What’s On events listings. Watch exclusive footage of a dress rehearsal of the first act in St Columb's Cathedral below.