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Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci

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Run time: 3hrs 00min, 1 intermission


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Conductor Marco Armiliato leads this immortal double-bill of one-act operas that teem with love, jealousy, despair, and murder. Eva-Maria Westbroek is Santuzza in Cavalleria—pregnant and abandoned by the handsome and popular Turiddu (Brian Jagde). But their illicit dalliance is discovered by Santuzza’s husband, Alfio (Ambrogio Maestri), who challenges Turiddu to a duel, and kills him. Roberto Alagna is Canio, the iconic clown in Pagliacci who must entertain the audience while his heart is breaking. Aleksandra Kurzak sings Nedda, his unfaithful young wife whose plans to run away with her lover are foiled by her spurned admirer Tonio (Ambrogio Maestri)—with tragic consequences.

Immensely popular in his lifetime, Italian composer Pietro Mascagni (1863 – 1945) is best known today for his opera Cavalleria rusticana. Mascagni composed fifteen operas, an operetta, orchestral works, songs and piano music. The libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci, is based on the Sicilian melodrama of the same name by Giovanni Verga (1840 -1922).

Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857 – 1919) produced numerous operas and other works throughout his career, but it is Pagliacci that remains his lasting contribution to the opera repertoire. Leoncavallo provided his own libretto for Pagliacci, and based the story on an incident from his childhood.