Succinct was the analysis of Robert Benchley, the early 20th-century American humorist when he said: “Opera is where a guy gets stabbed in the back and instead of dying, he sings”. He disliked opera. His son, Peter, disliked sharks. He grew up to write Jaws. Peter was not a humorist. In Puccini’s Tosca, there is much dying. Not by Tuberculosis, the composer’s recurring coup de grace of choice for heroines, but stabbing, shooting and jumping from battlements.