John Bell

The last production of Puccini’s celebrated Tosca from Opera Australia, Christopher Alden’s brutally monochrome 2010 version, was banished from the repertoire soon after amid howls of complaints from patrons. Just three years later the company has tasked one of the country’s most respected theatremakers, Shakespeare specialist John Bell, to restore the masterpiece.

Bell isn’t daunted by the challenge, or scared into returning to the show’s roots. His new production — premiering at the Sydney Opera House on July 6 — is transposed to Mussolini’s Italy in the 1940s, with lavish new set designs by Michael Scott-Mitchell and costumes by Teresa Negroponte. He sat down with Curtain Call to discuss the challenges …

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The details: Tosca plays the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House until August 28. Tickets on the OA website.

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