Lust, political corruption, police brutality, torture, rape, murder, execution, suicide: opera. Tosca's lover Mario is arrested for treason when she spills the beans about the escape of a political prisoner. Evil Baron Scarpia wins again.
The aristocratic Marschallin is increasingly aware of things: middle-age is approaching, her beauty is fading, and her young lover Octavian has fallen in love with someone younger and prettier than she. She knew this would happen one day.
French composer Ambroise Thomas sticks close to Shakespeare's basic plot, with an added Mad Scene for Ophelia. Simon Keenlyside is the brooding Prince of Denmark, for whom the play's the thing in which to catch the conscience of the king.
Soldiers rally outside Jerusalem, where a beautiful woman claims to be the rightful ruler. She begs the men to help her take the crown from evil uncle, Idraote. Little do they know, however, that this is a plot to destroy them from within.
Boris might have been a good Czar except for that thing he did years ago: he murdered the child who was the true heir to Russia's throne. Now nightmares, his conscience, the Council of Ministers and a brewing rebellion threaten his rule.
Family jealousy, threat of rebellion, political back-stabbing and the Inquisition weigh heavy on the court of King Phillip II. The tension finally ignites at the King's coronation, where a number of heretics are to be burnt at the stake.