Elena Zilio as Mamma Lucia in Cavalleria rusticana ©2017 ROH. Photographed by Catherine Ashmore.

Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci

11 April2 May 2020
The performance lasts about 3 hours 10 minutes, including one interval
Main Stage
Opera and music
These works are performed together:
  • Cavalleria rusticana
  • Pagliacci
Also broadcast to cinemas
This performance will be broadcast livefind a showing near you

Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana (Rustic Chivalry) and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (The Players) are today Italian opera’s most famous double act, but they were written independently. Cavalleria rusticana came first, its hugely successful premiere in 1890 doubtless an influence on Leoncavallo. His Pagliacci in 1892 was another triumph. The two works, each undeniable masterpieces of the verismo tradition of realism, share dramatic concision, melodic richness and an obsession with violent jealousy.

Damiano Michieletto’s production was an Olivier-Award-winning hit when first presented in 2015. He sets both operas within the same village, allowing characters from one piece to reappear in the other and offering theatrical realism within visuals that are modern and yet timeless. The production was widely praised at its premiere, and summarized by the Financial Times as ‘a gripping evening all round’.

Please note there are two offstage gunshots during Cavalleria rusticana
Sung in Italian with English surtitles

Generous philanthropic support from

The Patrons and Friends of Covent Garden.



Cast may vary depending on date. Go to dates and prices to view casting.


Cavalleria rusticana

MusicPietro Mascagni

LibrettoGiovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci

DirectorDamiano Michieletto

Set designerPaolo Fantin

Costume designerCarla Teti

Lighting designerAlessandro Carletti


MusicRuggero Leoncavallo

LibrettoRuggero Leoncavallo

DirectorDamiano Michieletto

Set designerPaolo Fantin

Costume designerCarla Teti

Lighting designerAlessandro Carletti


There is lift access and step-free seating to most levels of the Main Stage auditorium, except the Orchestra Stalls, which are reached by a minimum of nine steps. There are more than 100 seats in the Stalls Circle, Balcony and Amphitheatre which are accessible without the need to negotiate steps. In addition, many seats in these areas and in the Donald Gordon Grand Tier and Orchestra Stalls are accessible by 10 steps or fewer. Find out more about accessing the Main Stage Auditorium.