Scottish Opera: Susannah Glanville on performing as tragic Tosca


Crowd-pleasing classic Tosca returns to the Scottish stage tonight before touring around the country, and STV talked to Susannah Glanville, who is playing one of opera’s most famous – and tragic – characters.

The latest production by Scottish Opera begins at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow tonight, and is on at the venue throughout the next week before moving on to Inverness, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Full of drama, this version of Tosca has been updated from the Napoleonic times in which it was first set by Puccini to the shadows of Mussolini’s brutal regime in 1940s Rome, and sees the title character put through the ringer by the scheming Scarpia. (Watch our interview with Scarpia here.)

Susannah said her role: “Tosca is a wonderful, emotional lady.

“She’s high-spirited, she’s got a very deep belief in God as well as the human spirit, and she’s a wonderful lady to play. It’s a real diapason of many different emotions.”

She continued: “It’s not just vocally demanding, it’s dramatically demanding, physically demanding.

“Really you’re pulled in all directions, but I love that. That’s what I love about playing Tosca, she’s just such a phenomenal character.”

The singer has played the title role before, critically acclaimed for her performance in Opera North’s 2009 production, and explained: “The experience of having such a big role only adds value to what I can do here.”

The opera is conducted by Scottish Opera’s Music Director Francesco Corti, who has said: “Tosca is pure Puccini. The score goes from tenderness to huge tension – it is big and dramatic with so much passion and absolutely drives the action on stage.”

Scottish Opera’s production of the crowd-pleaser was first seen in 1980, and has since been enjoyed by audiences around the world, “borrowed” by opera houses as far afield as America, New Zealand and Spain.

Susannah added about the continued popularity of Tosca: “It’s a great show, and a very strong show, and it’s obvious why it’s come back in again and again. I really hope people will come and see it.”

Tosca is on in Glasgow until Saturday 12 May, when it moves on to Inverness and then Edinburgh and Aberdeen. For show details and ticket information visit Scottish Opera's website.

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