Cavalleria rusticana is an opera in one act by Pietro Mascagni on a libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci, inspired by the eponymous novel by Giovanni Verga. Due to its short length (around 70 minutes) and musical features, reminiscent of the Italian verismo, it is often performed alongside another opera, Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo—a combination proposed for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in 1893. The plot stages a story of jealousy and betrayal between two couples living in Vizzini, a small village in Sicily. The climate of indifference, of omertà, and matters of honor lead Alfio and Turiffu to a duel to the death, from which nobody emerges victorious… In Cavalleria rusticana, Mascagni shows his ability to create a brutal, yet simple and effective plot. Enhancing the effect of realism, his music often recalls the folk songs of Southern Italy.
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A selection of our programs is available for free for all registered users and the rest can be unlocked with a subscription, including Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana. Live videos, replays or VOD, stream right to your living room from the most renowned concert halls in the world, and you can watch our concerts on your biggest screens with AirPlay, Chromecast, and our new Roku app. Enjoy spectacular operas that are the most representative of the Italian verismo (italian for “realism”), including Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana, performed by artists such as Salvatore Licitra, Violetta Urmana, and Luciano Pavarotti.
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Cavalleria rusticana is Pietro Mascagni’s first opera, but it stands as one of the best works in the lyrical theater repertoire! At the time, Mascagni was just the conductor of a small theater company in Cerignola, in the south east of Italy. He began to compose Cavalleria rusticana in order to take part in a musical competition. Unfortunately, he found out about it only a few days before the registration deadline! In the space of two months thanks to a libretto by Targioni-Tozzetti—a friend and a professor of literature—he finished the entire score of Cavalleria rusticana, and its success was immediate! In particular, the symphonic interlude that takes place between the eight and the ninth scene earned it a special place in the public’s heart. This interlude inspired many other artistic works! In fact, it has been used in blockbuster films including The Godfather, Part III, but also in pop music as well as in many commercials. On medici.tv, you can find some of the best interpretations of Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana: come and listen!