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  • Your Reaction: Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci in cinemas 2015

Your Reaction: Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci in cinemas 2015

What did you think of Damiano Michieletto's new production of Mascagni and Leoncavallo’s greatest operas?

By Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products)

11 December 2015 at 12.00pm | 40 Comments




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.

The next Royal Opera House live cinema relay is The Nutcracker on 16 December 2015. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list.

By Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products)

11 December 2015 at 12.00pm

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

This article has 40 comments

  1. Absolutely amazing, watched in in a cinema in North Wales.

  2. Belinda Coster responded on 10 December 2015 at 11:43pm Reply

    It is a privilege to watch great opera on our doorstep. Thank you. But can anyone tell me the reason for having a duplicate scene in Pagliacci - 'off stage' and 'on stage' ? I found it confusing.

    • Miriam responded on 11 December 2015 at 3:36pm

      Having also seen it at the dress rehearsal I thought the "off-stage" duplicate scenes were really meant to be in Canio's imagination, but I did think this seemed more confusing at the cinema with the close-ups than it had when I was there with an overall view of the stage.

      BTW at my cinema there were no subtitles at the beginning, I assume this was because they had forgotten to switch them on, They appeared after the Easter Hymn, by which time I think a few people had complained.

    • Sarah Walsh (Cinema Account Coordinator) responded on 11 December 2015 at 4:10pm

      Dear Miriam,

      Please can you let me know which cinema you were at and I'll follow up with them about this?



  3. Lau Nuk Nsng responded on 10 December 2015 at 11:50pm Reply

    Superb performances! Took me back 50 years when my school performed the Easter Hymn from Cavalleria Rusticana - brings tears to my eyes even now!

  4. tom vaughan responded on 11 December 2015 at 12:12am Reply

    thought it was fantastic thank you all

  5. Jonathan Gould responded on 11 December 2015 at 12:15am Reply

    What a wonderful production and cast. Left me with a huge grin of appreciation and had to stop myself from joining in with the live applause. Raw emotion at its best.

  6. Absolutely magnificent production. I saw it in rehearsal last week, and was sufficiently intrigued to have to go the the cinema tonight to see finished result. Such a clever blending of the 2 operas, wonderful singing and conducting. Perfect.

  7. Simone Camilleri responded on 11 December 2015 at 7:04am Reply

    Hats off to Michieletto for this new production. he certainly knows all about the Sicilian mentality. The orchestra under Pappano was just wonderful,as usual. He instills such passion into his players. Unfortunately, Cavalleria was far too loud at the cinema where I was watching. I had to block my ears most of the time as it became quite unbearable! The volume was lowered for Pagliacci. That is when I started enjoying to the full. Giannattasio was in excellent voice, the part suited her so well. Kudos to the rest of the performers, perhaps not so much to the tenor. He disappointed at times. Is the volume controlled locally or is it according to the strength of the transmission? A special 'bravi' to the choir. Not only did they sing beautifully but their acting was impeccable.

    • Bethan Williams (Cinema Account Administrator) responded on 11 December 2015 at 10:05am

      Dear Simone,
      Glad to hear you enjoyed the screening.
      We recommend a standard volume setting for all cinemas but it is up to their discretion whether this is adjusted to suit their venue.
      Best wishes,

  8. Mick Pullen responded on 11 December 2015 at 7:42am Reply

    Watched from premier seat in Kettering Odeon.My wife and I were enthralled by a BRILLIANT evening of opera.All for the princely sum of £30.20.WONDERFUL STAGE SETS,FABULOUS ACTING,TERRIFIC ORCHESTRA AND CONDUCTOR AND AN OUTSTANDING CAST.Thanks for making opera so available to the masses who can't aford either money or time to travel to London

  9. John responded on 11 December 2015 at 8:59am Reply

    Great show last night, in particular the fabulous conducting and very thoughtful production. Having part of the Pagliacci finale play out in Canio's was a risk but it paid off and was beautifully handled. The only real disappointment for me was Antonenko. A potentially great singer when he appeared in Otello a few years ago, he sounded truly desperate at times yesterday - horrifically strained, wobbly singing in the middle and upper register that was simply awful to listen to. I hope he's encouraged to take a sabbatical and sort out his problems - it's clearly a very special instrument but he doesn't seem able to use it effectively at the moment.

  10. JORGE FONSECA responded on 11 December 2015 at 9:51am Reply

    Vi ontém em Lisboa...simplesmente encantador...

  11. Mark Constable responded on 11 December 2015 at 10:54am Reply

    It was a birthday present for my wife and we watched at Guildford Odeon who were marvellous in their hospitality.

    Brilliant, brilliant sets and fine cinetography - is that the right word! - so that you felt you WERE there in Italy.

    sound was slightly off in that the images seemed slightly behind the sounds - Cineworld in Aldershot do it better, not sure why.

    Felt it could have been improved - I'm being really picky now, as Darcey Bussell would say on 'Strictly' - by showing a few performance pan backs so that we could see what the ROH audience saw. Just a few pan out / pan in shots. Otherwise, it was excellent, seeing the facial expressions up close.

    Acting was outstanding: we loved the authenticity of the supporting cast, especially the children and in true verismo spirit, ALL the actors SO believable.

    Am I still excited?- absolutely!

    Would I recommend it to friends? - No, they'd take my next viewing tickets!

  12. Chrissie Bates responded on 11 December 2015 at 11:02am Reply

    This is a terrific production and so pleased it was screened live into cinemas. I was lucky enough to see it last week at ROH so was aware of some shortcomings in the filming:

    The lighting was problematic and cast many dark shadows over the action, particularly in Pagliacci. I also felt there were too many close up shots which sometimes excluded subtle touches of pathos/humour, especially with the marvellous chorus. Homing in on Mamma Lucia’s baking skills was not a good idea, and the close-up shot of the pizza dough was particularly puzzling.

    These are technical/filming quibbles, and in no way meant to detract from a fine production. Our cinema in South Woodford was full, and a good time had by all. Thanks ROH for a wonderful evening.

  13. brian laverick responded on 11 December 2015 at 11:03am Reply

    Dear Sirs,

    This was the first "live" simultaneous relay I have attended. I won't be going again in the near future.

    To be successful, the technology needs to be 100% - at the Showcase Cinema in Derby city centre it is not. Last night's performance was largely spoiled by frequent glitches and breaks of both sound and picture culminating in a 10 minute break in vision towards the end. I feel it was a waste of time and money for me.

    Regards from Brian Laverick

    • Sarah Walsh (Cinema Account Coordinator) responded on 11 December 2015 at 11:17am

      Dear Mr. Laverick,

      I'm very sorry that your first experience of our live screenings was disappointing. We are aware that Showcase Derby experienced some problems last night and are awaiting feedback as to the cause of the glitches. The satellite feed coming from the ROH was uninterrupted which leads me to believe that this may have been a local technical problem. Please be assured that we will get to the bottom of what happened and rectify this for the future.

      Kind regards,


  14. MARK ROCHESTER responded on 11 December 2015 at 11:23am Reply

    This time it was thankfully glitch free, if just a little quiet.
    Neither would be favourite operas , but Pag was an absolutely fantastic piece of thrilling theatre, So missed being able to shout bravo at the end!
    So pleased I went. Another ROH triumph.

  15. Caroline responded on 11 December 2015 at 11:50am Reply

    Thoroughly enjoyed the performance (in Bath), in spite of the heavy smoker next to us who stank of smoke and coughed throughout most of the Pag. Carmen Giannattasio stole the show for me, her singing was effortless. Aleksandrs Antonenko's voice sounded strained so his solo Vesti la giubba was disappointing. The orchestra were on fire, Pappano at his best.

  16. Catherine jordan responded on 11 December 2015 at 11:55am Reply

    My only negative reaction to all the ROH live screenings is the tendency of the cameraman to get a little over enthusiastic in his use of close ups.
    The experience of live theatre is sometimes taken away from us by not letting the audience in the cinemas enjoy the whole stage view.
    Please ask the production staff to consider this as I am not alone in holding this opinion
    Thank you.

  17. Cathy Liebig responded on 11 December 2015 at 12:37pm Reply

    This production is absolutely fabulous,
    great singers, great conductor

  18. Jose manuel responded on 11 December 2015 at 1:03pm Reply

    It is a real privilege to listen to this magnificent representation, with a successful staging and so successful cast.
    It was my first experience with the opera in cinema and I think repeat

  19. Ronald Goldberg responded on 11 December 2015 at 4:47pm Reply

    I fail to understand why the production opened with the death of Turridu. Also, why did the whole opera take place in semi-darkness; I thought that one of the essential points of it was the blazing sun (linked to hot blood). Apart from these points the staging, singing, acting were phenomenal and I greatly enjoyed it.

  20. richard taylor responded on 11 December 2015 at 4:48pm Reply

    Brilliant. Such Magnificent production, acting and singing to die for. Thank you and congratulations to all.

  21. Howard Jones responded on 11 December 2015 at 5:36pm Reply

    Fabulous evening. Most interesting production and amazing performances. The audience here in Llanelli was spellbound. Congratulations to all involved!

  22. Liane responded on 11 December 2015 at 8:29pm Reply

    I can only agree with all the above comments. It was a wonderful evening. The production was super. I liked the way the two operas were linked. What a great idea! I am surprised that nobody thought of this before. The actor/singers were all brilliant in both operas particularly Pag and I can hardly wait to see it live in the Operahouse on the 21st. It was a really fantastic experience. ROH I thank you so much!!

  23. Russell James responded on 11 December 2015 at 9:03pm Reply

    Unbeatable production and a wonderful set. The opening tableau of Cav Rust showed that we were in for a fabulously theatrical evening. Couldn't take my eyes off either Dmitri or Carmen (so what to do when they were on together?).

  24. Ann McNair responded on 11 December 2015 at 10:35pm Reply

    I watched Cavpag at the Empire, Clydebank and I loved the singing , the orchestra and the production, except for one thing. I found myself constantly distracted by the display of Carmen Giannattasio's improbable and ridiculously large bust. Why was this soft porn deemed necessary? Pagliacci is a work where women are already treated as objects, and one perhaps accepts this in the historical context of the piece. Surely, however, it was inappropriate to add this gratuitously offensive exhibition which many people will find demeaning.

  25. Emma Grainger responded on 12 December 2015 at 8:37am Reply

    It was a great evening at the Radway in Sidmouth. No technical glitches and very good sound. It was very dark however but I assume that was the production. Strange to have the village going to the dawn Easter Mass in the dark, buying their bread in the dark etc I didn't think the 'dream' sequence in Pag worked that well but that may have been the use of the close ups as we couldn't see the 'real' stage. But these are very minor points. My main point is how fantastically lucky I feel to be able to see so many tremendous productions without being in London. Bravo to all who bring us these tremendous operas.

  26. Markie23 responded on 12 December 2015 at 8:49am Reply

    Wonderful production except such a slow and quiet start ! Such a disappointing Easter Hymn, but would add that the Intermezzo was equally underwhelming, no soaring strings here just a little too quiet. Same with the processional hymn and when the production allows 'noises off' to be just that - distant sounds of melodious singing - it is frustrating as the audience strains to hear what are two of the most beautiful pieces in Cavllaieria Rusticana.

  27. Michael Possener responded on 13 December 2015 at 11:03pm Reply

    I have just seen the Sunday afternoon Encore and found the subtitles for both Cav and Pag were too small to read easily. Also, is there a minimum standard time for a subtitle to stay on screen because many were removed almost as soon as they appeared, then a long wait until the next one?

    • Sarah Walsh (Cinema Account Coordinator) responded on 14 December 2015 at 9:34am

      Dear Michael,

      The subtitles are always transmitted in the same format from the ROH for our productions and should not have been appearing in the way you describe. Please can you let me know which cinema you attended yesterday and I will follow up with them on this directly?

      Thank you,


    • Michael Possener responded on 18 December 2015 at 11:19pm

      For Sarah Walsh
      Dear Sarah
      Thank you for your reply to my comments on the subtitles. I saw the transmission at the Vue cinema Watford.
      Kind regards
      Michael Possener

  28. Peter Erdos responded on 14 December 2015 at 10:42am Reply

    Enjoyed the cinema presentation immensely with the musical satisfaction opera demands. Singers and conductor excellent, particularly impressed by fantastic acting abilities of everybody on stage (Elena Zilio in particular!) However I felt let down by the production. Despite the good reviews of it it did not satisfy my expectations. Simple domestic stories of simple everyday people presented in a sometimes confusing and irrevelant situation. I did not like the idea of having Easter sunday celebrated at midnight under a street lamp in Sicily of all places, the scenes inside the bakery not very much connected to the story, the presence of the dead Turiddu at the beginning while he is singing the "siciliana" etc. In Pagliacci Nedda looking like Giulietta Masini in "La Strada" singing about the August sun,as we were told the same day as Cav (where is Easter celebrated in August?) The doubling of characters in the play is confusing. For me unfortunately Mr Michieletto did not redeem himself after the William Tell disaster. He still did not take care of the text and the stage instructions.
    However all in all a captivatin performance, thanks to Messrs. Mascagni and Leoncavallo.

  29. Elisabeth Evans responded on 16 December 2015 at 4:09pm Reply

    Entirely agree with Peter Erdos's comments above. The costumes were very drab, especially poor Santuza's and the twilight enhanced the gloom., Pagliacci is meant to show celebrations for the popular 15 August Feast of La Assunta when a Passion play would certainly not be performed by the local children. The director took cheap shots at the Catholic Church generally (eg. showing Nedda & the Parish Priest together). Luckily the music & performances redeemed all1

  30. Rob Hawker responded on 17 December 2015 at 11:01am Reply

    I saw this relay in Cineworld in Newport I.O.W.
    Not for the first time, the sound was appalling, being set so low the quiet passages were barely audible. They have done it well before so it is possible! Also the sound from adjacent movies was audible because of this low setting.
    I tend to go to Harbour Lights in Southampton because it is a lottery at Cineworld sound wise.
    It was like listening from the corridor or bar at Covent Garden; (I have been many times). The production was interesting, (although I preferred the Met production)and well acted, the singing was largely difficult to judge but the conducting seemed to be fine. The flattened dynamic to away some of the dramatic impact.

  31. Mrs. Judith Rennie responded on 17 December 2015 at 6:34pm Reply

    Cav and Pag was spoilt for many of us over 80s because the sound system at Hatfield Galleria was too loud in spite of me asking the Manager to turn it down. At the Nutcracker last night I again asked the Manager to turn the sound down and he replied that The R.OH. had asked for the sound to be that loud. Is that true. My friends who were at Enfield cinema also said the sound system was too loud..

    • Sarah Walsh (Cinema Account Coordinator) responded on 18 December 2015 at 10:48am

      Dear Judith,

      We do have a recommended volume setting for our cinema screenings but we always encourage the cinemas to adjust as they feel necessary and also in accordance with their audience's wishes. I'll get in touch with Galleria and remind them of this. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

      Kind regards,


  32. S.Denny responded on 28 December 2015 at 12:09am Reply

    Are there any plans to bring this back to the ROH in the near future? I was unable to attend on this occasion but would dearly love to see it performed on such a grand stage.

  33. Sasha responded on 28 December 2015 at 2:15am Reply was brilliant. Ended up seeing it twice on stage, and once in the cinema.... and I've also got a ticket for the last performance. The best staging of Cav/Pag I have ever seen.

    Just please please please please PLEASE confirm whether this will be put onto DVD in the future..?

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