She was the Tosca who played live to an audience of one billion in 107 countries; she is the director of English National Opera's new staging of the opera they once dubbed Puccini's "shabby little shocker". How times change.

In this exclusive ENO OperaCast Catherine Malfitano tells Edward Seckerson that it's high time we moved on from the Tosca-as-diva portrayal - that, she says, should remain offstage where Puccini left it. She talks about the games she plays with her young performers to find a deeper truth and how she draws daily upon the fruits of a glorious career spanning 30-plus years in over 70 roles.

ENO fielded one of her last operatic performances when she chilled us to the marrow as the Kostelnicka in Janacek's Jenufa. In her new roles as teacher and director she aims to pass on some of the hard-earned lessons she has learned. The very worst thing that a young singer can strive to achieve is perfection, she says - we only learn from our mistakes.

Tosca runs at the Coliseum from 18 May to 10 July 2010.