Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci are two operas in the verismo style, often performed together because of the similarities they display. The two works tell stories of jealousy and honor killings, which are highly reminiscent of the Pirandello plays. It is actually the Mascagni opera that Francis Ford Coppola chose for the end of The Godfather 3, one of the most emblematic films ever released about the Sicilian mafia. Giancarlo del Monaco's staging is a reference, and has been touring all around Europe: Bonn, Oslo, Torino, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Paris...
A Sicilian village on Easter Sunday. Turiddu has become engaged to Santuzza, but he carries on his affair with Lola, his former lover. Santuzza, very affected by his behaviour, confesses to Mamma Lucia, Turiddu's mother, that her son is unfaithful to her and involved with Lola. Santuzza tries to persuade Turiddu to leave Lola and return to her, but he violently rejects her proposal. Enraged, Santuzza tells Alfio, Lola's husband, about Lola's affair with Turridu. His honour offended, Alfio kills Turiddu in a knife fight.
Tonio, Beppe, Canio and his wife Nedda form a company of itinerant performers. One afternoon before their show opens, Tonio lets Canio know that his wife is seeing Silvio, a local fellow, who plans to escape with her that night. Taking advantage of the play's plot, a one act farce about infidelity and jealousy, Canio tries to make Nedda reveal the name of her lover. The contemptuous attitude she shows towards him, and the audience's laughter at what they believe is part of the show, infuriates Canio so much that he pulls out a knife and stabs her on stage. Silvio, who is in the audience, rushes to her aid but he also falls victim to Canio's knife.
© Picture: Javier del Rey