ONE single voice filling the whole of King George's Hall is no small feat. But that was something which soprano Larisa Akhmetova had no trouble doing, easily hitting the rafters in her solos as Floria Tosca in the title role of Giacomo Puccini's great opera.

Staged by the Russian State Opera, Saturday night's performance saw Akhmetova more than well supported by Iashvili Rostom, as her doomed lover painter Mario Cavaradossi.

Their two arias were the highlights of an engaging show which was very much appreciated by the audience. Andrey Puzhalin, as Baron Scarpia, who sentences Cavaradossi to death and then tries to blackmail Tosca into spending the night with him, also seemed to be effortlessly menacing. In fact he was so good he elicited a few mock boos as he took his curtain call.

The first act had some elements of light-heartedness, but by act two the tone had changed and the performers really got into their groove. Overall the piece was entertaining, accessible for people with little experience of this classic, and appreciated by those who had seen it many times.

As well as Tosca, The Russian State Opera is also touring with Madam Butterfly until mid October at regional venues across the country. The company is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary after being set up to provide Russian classical art performances to a UK audience, both opera and ballet.

What is really great to see is that Blackburn is still able to attract a quality production of this type, and opera afficionados do not have to travel miles to see a great show.