• OTF - Cavalleria rusticana

    Before we begin, a few topics of note.

    First, my thanks to the OperaLively team, and especially to Almaviva, for giving OTF a place of privilege amongst the “Articles” section. From now on, my OTF posts will be found at http://operalively.com/forums/conten...ce-a-fortnight, in one convenient place! I hope you will check it out, and catch up with some of our past OTF’s.

    On a somewhat related topic, I am sad to report that one of my favourite Public Domain resources, the Japanese site Public Domain Classic, is no longer responsive (see post). This means that a few of my OTF and other opera contributions on this site now have “obsolete links”. Do not despair, however, as I have found some alternate links and intend to upload some of these Public Domain treasures to the Internet Archive. I hope to have some of these links resolved between now andf the end of February – at least, that’s my plan.

    Now, on to the subject of the day.

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    This month many of my posts here and elsewhere are part of a larger series that I call “The Terrible Twos”, which highlight music relating to pairs, couples and such. In opera, other than famous couples of performers and protagonists, the biggest pairing has to be that of the two late 19th century operas we have come to simply refer to as “CAV and PAG”. They are paired together for many reasons: they are contemporary works (composed between 1890 and 1892), follow the same verisimo (or opera-vérité) style and are of such a duration that they fit well within a typical opera programme.

    CAV was composed first, premiering on May 17, 1890 and tackles topics of adultery, betrayal and honour, culminating with an off-stage duel between two of the protagonists creating a tearful, dramatic climax. Submitted as part of a competition, Cavalleria rusticana was composed (music and libretto) from scratch in under two months, and was among the three works to be selected for performance by the jury! It is the first Mascagni opera to be completed and performed. It remains the best known of his fifteen operas and one operetta; apart from Cavalleria rusticana, only Iris and L'amico Fritz have remained in the standard repertore.

    Its success has been phenomenal from its first performance in the Teatro Costanzi in Rome until the present day. At the time of Mascagni's death in 1945, the opera had been performed more than 14,000 times in Italy alone!

    The Performance

    For this OTF performance, I wanted to use a vintage, public domain performance and was fortunate enough to find a pairing of CAV and PAG that were directed by Tullio Serafin (1878 - 1968) featuring cast overlaps between the CAV and PAG performances, notably tenor Giuseppe Di Stefano and soprano Maria Callaswho at the time of these recordings (1953-54) were at the top of their game.

    Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945)
    Cavalleria rusticana (Rustic Chivalry) (1890)
    opera in one act adapted from a play written by Giovanni Verga based on his short story (1875).

    Santuzza – Maria Callas
    Turiddu, - Giuseppe Di Stefano
    Alfio – Rolando Panerai
    Lucia – Ebe Ticozzi
    Lola - Anna Maria Canali
    La Scala (Milan) Orchestra and chorus under Tullio Serafin
    Venue : Basilica di Santa Euphemia, Milan, Italy (06/16/1953-08/04/1953)

    Synopsis (from http://www.metoperafamily.org/metope...sis.aspx?id=10)

    A Sicilian village, c. 1890. Early on Easter morning, Turiddu sings about his former beloved, Lola, now the wife of a wine carter, Alfio. As the town stirs, Santuzza, Turiddu's neglected sweetheart, comes looking for the handsome youth at the tavern of his mother, Lucia. The girl reveals she has been excommunicated, but before she can explain why, Alfio comes by with friends, boasting about his pretty young wife. A religious procession fills the square and enters the church for mass, leaving Santuzza to tell Mamma Lucia that Turiddu has taken up with Lola again. When the old woman has gone to mass, Santuzza confronts Turiddu with his betrayal. Lola passes by, and Turiddu follows her into church. Santuzza hurls a curse after him, then, consumed by jealousy, tells Alfio of Lola's infidelity. Santuzza immediately feels remorse, but the damage is done.

    When the mass ends, Turiddu and the villagers drink wine, after which Alfio insults Turiddu, who accepts a challenge to duel with knives in a nearby orchard. He begs his mother to take care of Santuzza if he does not return. As Mamma Lucia and Santuzza wait anxiously, shouts rise in the distance. A woman stumbles in crying Turiddu has been killed.

    Libretto (Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci):http://opera.stanford.edu/Mascagni/C.../libretto.html

    Link to performance: http://www.mqcd-musique-classique.co...ead.php?t=4323

    Happy Listening!

    February 10, 2012, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will be adding a new montage "This & That" to its Pod-O-Matic Podcast. Read our English and French commentary February 10 on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot blog.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: OTF - Cavalleria rusticana started by itywltmt View original post

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