This book is intended primarily as a guide for the opera goer. It includes a synopsis of the plot, with indications of the themes and motifs used in it, and discusses the style of the opera, Tosca being a typical example of Italian naturalism in operas, verismo. It compares Puccini's libretto with Sardou's play La Tosca, analyses the close-knit structure of the work and examines salient points in the music. It also describes the genesis of the work (quoting wherever appropriate, Puccini's own remarks about it), its first production and early reception. A subsidiary aim of the book is to present the opinions, positive and negative, that have been expressed by various critics about the opera since its first production in 1900. There are contributions from the celebrated singer and producer of Tosca Tito Gobbi, and two other musicologists, Roger Parker and William Ashbrook. Malcolm Walker has provided a discography.