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  • Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci to be relayed live to cinemas on 10 December 2015

Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci to be relayed live to cinemas on 10 December 2015

Damiano Michieletto's new Royal Opera production of Mascagni and Leoncavallo's verismo operas will be live on screens around the world.

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

7 December 2015 at 2.53pm | 4 Comments

Damiano Michieletto's new Royal Opera production of Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci will be relayed live to cinemas around the world at 7.15pm GMT on 10 December 2015.

The cinema relay will be presented by Clemency Burton-Hill.

For a specially selected range of exclusive, films, pictures and features, download the Calleria rusticana/ Pagliacci Digital Programme for free using the promo code 'FREECAVPAG'.

The stories

In Cavalleria rusticana, peasant Turiddu is in love with Lola, a married woman. When this is discovered by Santuzza (a woman he has seduced), she tells Lola’s husband Alfio of his wife’s infidelity, with violent results.

Pagliacci draws on similar themes, tying the action to the arrival of a travelling theatre troupe to a small town. The troupe's hunchbacked clown Tonio is in love with Nedda, who rejects his advantage. In revenge, Tonio brings Nedda's husband (and the troupe's leader) Canio to spy on Nedda as she meets her lover Silvio.

Both operas are examples of verismo, an operatic movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries which prized realism and narratives driven by a desire for social change. For this reason, they are often performed together, despite fierce rivalry between the two composers during the late 1890s when they were composed.

The production

Damiano Michieletto updates the works to southern Italy in the late 20th century, setting both works in a village in the grip of poverty and hypocrisy, where strong passions lurk in the dark. His production highlights the thematic links between the two works, with characters from each opera appearing in the other.

Watch Damiano speaking about why he chose to set the operas in late 20th-century southern Italy

The music

Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci (Or 'Cav and Pag' as they are often known) both contain music that gives a strong sense of their setting in a poverty-striken southern Italian village and the characters within it. Both are rich with memorable melodies including the Easter Hymn from Cavalleria rusticana and Canio's aria 'Vesti la giubba' from Pagliacci. 

Music from Cavalleria rusticana is familiar to wider audiences through film directors' famous uses of the Intermezzo (Raging Bull and The Godfather: Part III being two prime examples). Enrico Caruso's recording of Pagliacci's 'Vesti la giubba' is pivotal in the history of popular music; his 1902 recording being the first million-selling record.

Listen to Antonio Pappano speak about why he feels Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci so perfectly encapsulate Italy and its people

The cast

The production features a world-class cast including Aleksandrs Antonenko, Carmen Giannattasio and Eva-Maria Westbroek. The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House is led by Antonio Pappano.


After the relay on 10 December, we will publish a roundup of audience tweets, so share your thoughts using the hashtag #ROHcavpag.

Read audience reactions from opening night

Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci will be broadcast live to cinemas around the world on 10 December 2015. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list.

The production is a co-production with Opera AustraliaLa Monnaie, Brussels, and The Göteborg Opera, and is given with generous philanthropic support from the Royal Opera House Endowment Fund.

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

7 December 2015 at 2.53pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged by Damiano Michieletto, Cavalleria rusticana, Cavalleria rusticana pagliacci, cinema, live, movies, Pagliacci, Production, relay

This article has 4 comments

  1. Mario responded on 10 December 2015 at 11:54pm Reply

    Just come back from watching it live from Covent Garden ,Having recently seen Tito Gobbi singing the prelude to paglicci on a DVD. I was so looking forward to this . But I have to say ,It was the worst performance of any opera ,I have ever seen ,Just to give one eg .This was the story of a clown in a circus not stage show .The whole story line destroyed ,No costumes .I think the composers of this great opera would have been up in arms .These where true stories ,made into opera .Always best look to the past great productions , and interpretations ,great singers ? Tito Gobbi Gili , Pavarotti,Not to mention the Paglacci King Caruso .Also the comment made by the conductor in an interview before the showing about ,southern Italy's having one feats day .If he is from Italy he will know that they have more festavils and feast days than any part of Italy .And have produced not only,the greatest singer of all time Caruso .But also introduced the most moving opera music of all time .Cone on we can do better than this .

  2. Liliane responded on 11 December 2015 at 2:19pm Reply

    There is not too much I want to say about the production itself, one can have likes or dislikes about classicals transformed into modern times. I prefer the older versions. But here comes a real big criticism: I watched the performance in Ascona, Switzerland, cinema Otello. The volume was so badly low!!! that all those beautiful"piano" parts like the intermezzo or also the easter hymn or the brindisi just were not there, never mind the parlando parts. Upon claiming the cinema operator told me that he cannot change anything and getting out of the problem he talked about dolby system etc. I would really appreciate that this matter be taken up immediately at the ROH. We are a group of opera lovers and will certainly not spend money or time in the future if this condition persists. thank you.
    Generally I am a ballet person, the same comment goes for the past production of Carmen with Carlos Acosta, There the interview with Darcy Bussel was equally low volume so that nobody was able to understand her.

    • Sarah Walsh (Cinema Account Coordinator) responded on 11 December 2015 at 2:41pm

      Dear Liliane,

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We do have a recommended volume level for cinemas with Dolby systems but we always encourage cinemas to adjust the setting to suit their venue and their audience's preferences. I'm sorry that you found the sound too low during last night's screening. I'll contact the cinema directly and speak with them about what happened so that it can be rectified for next time.

      Kind regards,


  3. Liliane responded on 11 December 2015 at 4:53pm Reply

    Thank you Sarah, and I hope for the next performance of Nutcracker.

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