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  • Your Reaction: What did you think of Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci 2017/18?

Your Reaction: What did you think of Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci 2017/18?

Audience responses to Damiano Michieletto’s Olivier Award-winning Royal Opera production.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

4 December 2017 at 12.21pm | 24 Comments

Press reviews:
Bachtrack ★★★★★
Telegraph
 ★★★★
Times (£) ★★★★
Arts Desk ★★★

What did you think of Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci?

Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci runs until 13 January 2018. Tickets are still available.

It is a co-production with La Monnaie, Brussels, Opera Australia and The Göteborg Opera; and is supported by Clos19 with generous philanthropic support from Mikhail Bakhtiarov, The Connoisseurs' Series and the Royal Opera House Endowment Fund.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

4 December 2017 at 12.21pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged by Damiano Michieletto, Cavalleria rusticana, Cavalleria rusticana pagliacci, Pagliacci, Production, review, your reaction

This article has 24 comments

  1. Helen Sansom responded on 5 December 2017 at 9:30am Reply

    A memorable, breathtaking first night - a superb production. Thank you ROH.

  2. Peter Lewis responded on 6 December 2017 at 6:14pm Reply

    Went to the matinee today. I'd seen this production before but somehow the new cast (plus those from before) gave an extra dimension with credible acting. Plus the marvelous Bryan Hymel's stamina for both operas. Superb!

  3. John R responded on 6 December 2017 at 7:21pm Reply

    Thrilling! I loved the production when I saw it new a couple of years ago; the bakery and the church hall on the revolve makes for a constantly changing setting in which these two dramas enfold. But it was the performances which made this such a stand-out event this year. Bryan Hymel was simply stunning in both roles. I've admired him in the French repertory that he is so good in - but his singing today was brilliant! The sparks were flying in the duet with Elina Garanca's gorgeously voiced Santuzza (although I think I marginally preferred Eva Maria Westbroek last time round). Simon Keenlyside's prologue was sung beautifully, and he was in good voice throughout, but he's almost too nice a chap for the devious Canio, and he tended to clown around at the expense of bringing out the sinister side of Canio's character. Carmen Giannattasio was also wonderful, and I though her duet with Andrzej Filonczyk was something special. A fabulous afternoon in the Opera House, with the extra bonus of Hymel singing both tenor roles in what I regard as one of the ROH's very best productions of the moment.

  4. A.Bisson responded on 11 December 2017 at 4:40am Reply

    Maestro Oren conducting has been the best, in this production! We want him in Butterfly and Chenier!

  5. Timothy Wood-Woolley responded on 13 December 2017 at 11:15am Reply

    To echo some of the other comments, I loved these productions when I saw them in 2015 but they seem even better last night. They are operas I seem to have known for ever but I have rarely heard them better sung, played or conducted. Daniel Oren seemed to even surpass Pappano in his command of orchestral detail reavealing both Mascagni's and Leoncavallo's scores to be the miracles I always believed they were.
    The productions had some oddities; Mamma Lucia running a bakery rather than a Tavern/Wine shop, which made Turiddu's leaving the village to source wine slightly illogical and the final words in Pagliacci being spoken by Tonio rather than Canio.
    That aside, it was a powerful production of what was an extremely eventful Easter Day in a village in Sicilly/Calabria - 1 death in a duel followed by two murders later in the same evening.

    • Sebastian Petit responded on 14 December 2017 at 8:47pm

      The score specifies that Tonio utters the final words of Pagliacci. It's only tenors on an ego trip who insist on appropriating the line!!

  6. DODA responded on 14 December 2017 at 2:08pm Reply

    Pagliacci- unforgettable impressions

  7. Roger Taylor responded on 16 December 2017 at 8:31am Reply

    What a wonderful imaginative production this is. We were with some Italians who commented on how authentic the set for Cavalleria Rusticana was. Singing, orchestral playing and conducting were superb. There were some excellent touches in the production, linking the two operas. Leocavallo's Pagliacci is a masterpiece with his own quite distinctive style.

  8. Tim Wood-Woolley responded on 16 December 2017 at 11:02am Reply

    Dear Sebastian - you may well be right. My somewhat elderly libretto and recordings ascribe the final words to Canio but in the notes accompanying a more recent recording, it does state that the performance restores the final words to Tonio. It doesn't really matter though, it was still a great evening.

  9. Stephen Ratcliffe responded on 16 December 2017 at 11:59am Reply

    Was there last night. Much better sung than when production was new. Garanca was superb. Hymel did not seem on his best form in Cav but redeemed himself in Pag. Was not convinced by Keenlyside as Tonio. He is a superb artist but not in late Italian opera. I normally avoid anything conducted by Oren but it has to be said he was pretty good last night. Only one quibble, it would have been nice if the production started at 7 to avoid the late finish.

  10. Lee Kefauver responded on 16 December 2017 at 10:59pm Reply

    I hope ROH has recorded this pair! I would certainly buy the DVD.

  11. penelope simpson responded on 18 December 2017 at 11:46am Reply

    A wonderful night on Friday. Have seen this production before but I thought this cast was much better. Hymel has all the physicality that Antonenko lacks and he was quite wonderful. Southern Italy at its most raw - robust and passionate. I was in seventh heaven.

  12. Berenice responded on 20 December 2017 at 10:24am Reply

    Interesting production, Garanca beautiful, Hymel impressive but it's Keenlyside's interpretation which stays with me - the vocal detail and his revelation of the real person inside the villain's shoes. Quite wonderful.
    When can we see his Golaud at ROH, please?

  13. Liane Bierau responded on 20 December 2017 at 8:49pm Reply

    I saw it last night and I loved it as much as two years ago and find it superb to link these 2 operas.Hymel certainly was very good as Turiddu, but surpassed himself as Canio. I did not like Garanca as much as Westbroek last time. I thought she was a 100% Satuzza in voice, acting and looks, of all of which Garanca did not convince me.
    I also found the orchestra slightly boring and uninterested in Cav, but much better in Pag.

  14. Liane Bierau responded on 20 December 2017 at 8:52pm Reply

    PS Keenleyside also was great and so was
    Giannastasia, particularly in the duet with her Lover which had never impressed me before as much as yesterday

  15. Loge responded on 22 December 2017 at 1:05am Reply

    The female trio of Cav (Garanca, Zilio and Belli) was simply outstanding. Great production. Hymel should not sing both operas and Keenlyside cannot sing the high notes in the ‘prologo’. Giannattasio and Doss did not impress me at all but the young Polish Silvio was very good indeed.

  16. Razvan responded on 24 December 2017 at 8:24am Reply

    I loved both operas. Soloists were good, Garanca was the only soloist who deserved to be on the RHO stage though, chorus and orchestra were very good despite the low level of the conductor. There was no connection between him and the soloists or orchestra. He only mumbled and roared and had violent gestures, but his head was only in the music (but unfortunately no music in his head). It is pitty for this level.

  17. Rosie Layton responded on 29 December 2017 at 12:05pm Reply

    I was disappointed, not because of the opera, but what on earth was sprayed into the auditorium, some sort of air freshner, it brought me up in complete rash and spoiled the opera for me.

  18. Peter Harrison responded on 6 January 2018 at 7:28pm Reply

    We have just seen the signed performance of Cav and Pag. This was an excellent performance. Bryan Hymel was outstanding amongst an excellent cast. The chorus and the children were immaculate in acting and singing. The orchestra moved from one climax to another. The revolving stage and set worked well and was not gimmicky. A special thank you for the Signer Wendy Ebsworth. Though I only know a little BSL Wendy was a performance in her own right. Perfect timing. Great expression both facial and hands. Such stamina. I just hope there were some hearing impaired in the audience to fully understand her skill. I seen her before and if I have the opportunity I book a signed performance just to see her in action.

  19. Barry responded on 10 January 2018 at 4:50pm Reply

    Fantastic performance on both visits although watching the second time I realised how difficult it must have been for the stand-in.

  20. Patrick Hagglund responded on 12 January 2018 at 9:53pm Reply

    We attended on 12 December, and were much impressed by the singing and acting, especially by Bryan Hymel and Elena Zilio.

    We were, however, intensely irritated by the production. The linking together of the two stories is typical of the present day obsession of re-writing the storylines of great operas to satisfy directors' egos. The choice of the family business in Cav as a bakery rather than an inn - presumably to play the 'bun in the oven' metaphor is utterly banal. Why do this? It is quite pathetic to reduce this high drama to such trite turns. There are other points of detail - several - which there is no space here to pursue, save, in Pag, for Tonio speaking 'La commedia e finite!' rather than by Canio. Canio has spoken these telling words since Caruso et al, so why-oh-why does Michieletto need to return to the original choice for this most telling pronouncement? Many decades have shown how much more telling these words are coming from Canio. I suggest Michieletto just needs to justify his existence like all other regietheater directors these days. Well it did not work for me! In fact these details took away a significant measure of enjoyment for me. I know I may be in the minority, judging by the posts on this page, but, as an avid lover of opera for some fifty-five years now, I will be heard!

  21. Victoria Stocks responded on 18 January 2018 at 12:20am Reply

    Loved all the voices. Great to hear Bryan and Fabio in their original roles.
    Prefer a more traditional setting and costume.
    Would have oreferred to see Canio as the clown with traditional make up.

  22. W J Walker responded on 28 January 2018 at 9:50am Reply

    This Opera is so beautiful musically even a bad performance sounds wonderfull. This performance is right up there with the best

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