Opera is drama set on fire by music in a theatre and never more so than in Ellen Kent’s productions.

Her belief that opera should be both spectacular and accessible has won hearts and audiences for nearly 25 years with national tours by singers and musicians from Moldova.

Her new production of Tosca, perhaps Puccini’s most thrilling opera, featured stunning new sets and brilliant costume, highlighting a bloodthirsty story of torture, murder, treachery, love and suicide.

The whole gory affair required a singing actress of remarkable calibre as Tosca was the only character of depth in contrast to the pure evil of Scarpia and the angelic Caravadossi.

Alyona Kistenyova had a beautiful pure strong voice - allied to a real emotional intensity, it shone to perfection in Vissi d’arte.

Tenor arias Recondita Armonia and E Lucevan le stelle shared the same certain speech qualities, dramatically interpreted by Ruslan Zinevych.

Vladimir Dragos as the ultimate villain had long passages of heightened declamation although trombones in particular and the orchestra in general demonstrated evil - and indeed everything else - without words at all.

Vasyl Vasylenko conducted with passion, poise and perfect control of the particular forces involved.

Five stars