Cavalleria rusticana


Cavalleria rusticanaPietro Mascagni

June 4, 7, 11, 15, 19, 22, 26, 28 at 7.30pm
Double bill with Pagliacci


First performed at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome on 17 May 1890

Libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci adapted from the play and short story of the same name by Giovanni Verga

Sung in Italian with English surtitles
New production


Conductor Stuart Stratford
Director Stephen Barlow
Designer Yannis Thavoris
Lighting Designer Mark Jonathan
Choreographer Mandy Demetriou

Santuzza Gweneth-Ann Jeffers
Turiddu Peter Auty
Alfio Stephen Gadd
Lucia Sarah Pring
Lola Hannah Pedley

With the City of London Sinfonia and the Opera Holland Park Chorus

Opera Holland Park opens the season with the best-known double bill of all time, a pair of works which completely changed the landscape of Italian opera and paved the way for the operas of Giacomo Puccini.

Pietro Mascagni’s 1890 work, which he wrote as a despairing entry in a competition for one-act operas while working as a teacher in a southern Italian backwater, is a vivid, bloody tragedy about the brutal and passionate lives of Sicilian peasants. Santuzza has been made pregnant by Turiddu, but he has returned to his former lover, Lola – who is now married to Alfio. In a jealous fury, Santuzza tells Alfio that his wife is betraying him, and he challenges Turiddu to a fight to the death.

Mascagni intersperses bouts of violent action with stunning scene-setting music, including the well-known Intermezzo and Easter Hymn. This stark and fast-moving piece created a whole new school of opera, which would no longer be about kings and aristocrats but the passionate lives and deaths of earthy peasants: verismo.

Supported by Opera Holland Park Friends
Chorus generously supported by Mrs Angela Lascelles

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