When to see it
This work is being performed as part of a mixed programme:
Damiano Michieletto’s Olivier Award-winning productions of Mascagni and Leoncavallo’s great one-act operas masterfully unites these two incendiary works.
Turiddu sings of his love for Lola. He is overheard by Santuzza, a woman he has seduced. Santuzza tells Lola’s husband Alfio of his wife’s infidelity.
Alfio challenges Turiddu to a duel. Turiddu asks his mother Mamma Lucia to look after Santuzza, and dies at Alfio’s hands.
Pietro Mascagni adapted Giovanni Verga’s play Cavalleria rusticana (Rustic Chivalry) for a competition held by the music publisher Edoardo Sonzogno. His opera, a verismo masterpiece, won the competition and became a tremendous success on its premiere on 17 May 1890, going on to inspire Ruggero Leoncavallo’s opera Pagliacci. Italian director Damiano Michieletto’s Olivier Award-winning production of both works for The Royal Opera updates them to southern Italy in the late 20th century, to a village in the grip of poverty and hypocrisy, where strong passions lurk in the dark.
Unusually for the time, Mascagni composed Cavalleria rusticana in set numbers – arias, duets and ensembles detail the lives of his doomed characters within their repressive, repressed community, and turn the screw as the opera hurtles towards its tragic end. Turiddu’s drinking song ‘Viva il vino spumeggiante’, Santuzza’s melancholic ‘Voi lo sapete, o mama’ and the Easter Hymn are among the many musical highlights.
News and features
4 December 2017
Audience responses to Damiano Michieletto’s Olivier Award-winning Royal Opera production.
28 November 2017
It’s often said that a good film score is one you don’t directly notice, but in Raging Bull and The Godfather, the music is front and centre.
28 November 2017
The American tenor recently performed the aria 'Viva il vino spumeggiante' from Cavalleria rusticana via Facebook Live.
9 June 2016
'Pappano’s Italian Double Bill at the Royal House' will see the TV premiere of Damiano Michieletto's award-winning production of Mascagani and Leoncavallo's operas.
11 December 2015
What did you think of Damiano Michieletto's new production of Mascagni and Leoncavallo’s greatest operas?
10 December 2015
Backstage films from the live relay of Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci, including rehearsal footage and exclusive interviews.