An asymmetric total synthesis of ent-(-)-roseophilin (1), the unnatural enantiomer of a novel naturally occurring antitumor antibiotic, is described. The approach enlists a room temperature heterocyclic azadiene inverse electron demand Diels-Alder reaction of dimethyl 1,2,4,5-tetrazine-3,6-dicarboxylate (7) with the optically active enol ether 6 bearing the C23 chiral center followed by a reductive ring contraction reaction for formation of an appropriately functionalized pyrrole ring in a key 1,2,4,5-tetrazine --> 1,2-diazine --> pyrrole reaction sequence. A Grubbs' ring closing metathesis reaction was utilized to close the unusual 13-membered macrocycle prior to a subsequent 5-exo-trig acyl radical-alkene cyclization that was used to introduce the fused cyclopentanone and complete the preparation of the tricylic ansa-bridged azafulvene core 32. Condensation of 32 with 33 under the modified conditions of Tius and Harrington followed by final deprotection provided (22S,23S)-1. Comparison of synthetic (22S,23S)-1 ([alpha](25)(D), CD) with natural 1 established that they were enantiomers and enabled the assignment of the absolute stereochemistry of the natural product as 22R,23R. Surprisingly, ent-(-)-1 was found to be 2-10-fold more potent than natural (+)-1 in cytotoxic assays, providing an unusually rewarding culmination to synthetic efforts that provided the unnatural enantiomer.