Cavalleria Rusticana

opera in one act. concert version
music: Pietro Mascagni


Libretto: Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci after a play by Giovanni Verga

Music Director and Conductor: Dmitri Jurowski
Stage Director: Vyacheslav Starodubtsev
Chief Chorus Master: Vyacheslav Podyelsky
Chorus Master: Sergei Tenitilov

one interval

Time: Easter festival at the end of XIX century
Place: Sicilian village
First performance: Rome, Teatro Costanzi, 17 May 1890

This small piece was the first one out of three awarded at the competition, announced by a music publisher Edoardo Sonzogno. After one night the piece bought fame to its author, who was at the time a no-name twenty seven year old composer.

Early morning. Peasants stroll to the church through the square. Santuzza is among them; she is hurrying to Lucia, her fiancés old mother. She is desperate Turiddu is again smitten with his ex beloved Lola, a flirtatious girl, who had married wealthy Alfio, while Turiddu was on his military service. Lucia is trying to sooth Santuzza in vain; she is tormented by jealousy. Turiddu enters the square. Santuzza begs him to stay with her, but Turiddu is indifferent. He pushes her away and follows Lola, who heads to the church. Alfio returns to the village from a long journey having no clue of the latest events. Santuzza is distraught; she tells Alfio of his wifes unfaithfulness. Soon after, she starts regretting having said the words that came out in the heat, but it is too late now. Alfio feels dishonored and he is going to punish the man who smirched the honor of his family. After the church service is finished, the villagers gather at a tavern. The feast is interrupted by Alfio. He spitefully refuses to take the wine offered by Turiddu. Now he knows for sure that Alfio is aware of his love affair with Lola. The inevitable fight to the death is in the air. Following Sicilian custom, the two men embrace, and Turiddu, in a token of acceptance, bites Alfios right ear. Its settled now - the rivals are to meet outside of the village. Turiddu bids farewell to his mother. He now feels a tardy repentance to faithful Santuzza. He asks Lucia to take care of Santuzza. With his heart full of misgiving, he leaves. Santuzza and Lucia fall into each others hands. Voices in the distance are heard announcing Turiddus death. Santuzza faints and Lucia collapses in the arms of the women villagers.