Cavalleria rusticana

Cavalleria rusticana

"Cavalleria rusticana" ("Rustic Chivalry") is an opera in one act by Pietro Mascagni to an Italian libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci, adapted from a Sicilian short story written by Giovanni Verga. Considered one of the classic verismo operas, it premiered on May 17, 1890 at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome. Since 1893, it has often been performed in a so-called "Cav/Pag" double-bill with "Pagliacci" by Ruggero Leoncavallo. [Sims, M. 2007]

"Cavalleria rusticana" is also the title of the 1907 opera by the composer Domenico Monleone based on the same source.

Performance history

"Cavalleria rusticana" was the first opera that Mascagni wrote (although "Pinotta" only premiered in 1932 was written earlier) and remains the most well known of his 16 operas. (Apart from "Cavalleria rusticana", only "Iris" and "L'amico Fritz" have remained in the standard repertory with "Isabeau" and "Il Piccolo Marat" on the minuscus of the Italian repertoire) Its success has been phenomenal from its first performance in the Teatro Costanzi in Rome on May 17, 1890 until the present day. At the time of Mascagni's death in 1945, the opera had been performed more than fourteen thousand times in Italy alone. [Schweisheimer, W., 1946]

In July 1888 the Milanese music publisher Edoardo Sonzogno announced a competition open to all young Italian composers who had not yet had an opera performed on stage. They were invited to submit a one-act opera, of which the three best (selected by a jury of five prominent Italian critics and composers) would be staged in Rome at Sonzogno's expense. Mascagni heard about the competition only two months before the closing date and asked his friend Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti, a poet and professor of literature in the Italian Royal Naval Academy in Livorno, to provide a libretto. Targioni-Tozzetti chose "Cavalleria rusticana", a popular short story (and play) by Giovanni Verga as the basis for the opera. He and his colleague Guido Menasci set about composing the libretto, sending it to Mascagni in fragments, sometimes only a few verses at a time on the back of a post card. The opera was finally submitted on the last day for which entries would be accepted. In all, 73 operas were submitted, and on March 5, 1890, the judges selected the final three: Niccola Spinelli's "Labilia", Vincenzo Ferroni's "Rudello", and Pietro Mascagni's "Cavalleria rusticana". [Willard, A., 1893]

The first performance of "Cavalleria rusticana" caused a sensation, with Mascagni taking 40 curtain calls on the opening night, and winning the First Prize. [ "Time Magazine", August 13, 1945.] That same year, following its sold-out run of performances at the Teatro Costanzi, the opera was produced throughout Italy and in Berlin. It received its London premiere at the Shaftesbury Theatre on October 19, 1891 and its Covent Garden premiere on May 16, 1892. [Kobbé, G., 1919]

American producers vied with each other (sometimes through the courts) to be the first to present the opera in that country. "Cavalleria rusticana" finally had its American premiere in Philadelphia at the Grand Opera House on September 9, 1891, followed by Chicago on September 30, 1891. The opera premiered in New York on October 1, 1891 with two rival performances on the same day, an afternoon performance at the Casino, directed by Rudolph Aronson and an evening performance at the Lenox Lyceum directed by Oscar Hammerstein. [Kobbé, G., 1919]

The opera received its first performance at the Metropolitan Opera on December 30, 1891 in a double bill with a fragment of Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice" and has since received 652 performances there, the most recent of which was on October 2, 2006 with Salvatore Licitra as Turiddu and Dolora Zajick as Santuzza. [New York Metropolitan Opera Performance Archives]

In another Sonzogno competition in 1907, Domenico Monleone submitted an opera based on the same story by Verga, and likewise called "Cavalleria rusticana". The opera was not successful in the competition but premiered later that year in Amsterdam and went on to a successful tour throughout Europe, ending in Turin. Sonzogno, wishing to protect the lucrative property which Mascagni's version had become, took legal action and successfully had Monleone's opera banned from performance in Italy. [Stevens, D., 2001]



The opera is set in a Sicilian village on Easter morning. Turiddu, a young villager, had returned from military service to find that while he was gone, his fiancée, Lola, had married Alfio, the prosperous village teamster. In revenge, Turiddu seduced Santuzza, a young girl in the village. As the opera begins, Lola, overcome by her jealousy of Santuzza, has begun an adulterous affair with Turiddu.

Offstage, Turiddu is heard singing 'The Siciliana' ("O Lola, lovely as the spring’s bright blooms"). The curtain rises on the main square of the village. To one side is the church, to the other, Lucia's wine shop and the house where she lives with her son, Turriddu. The villagers move about the square, singing of the beautiful spring day, "Gli aranci olezzano sui verdi margini" ("The air is sweet with orange blossoms") and a hymn to the Blessed Virgin. Some villagers enter the church, others wander off still singing.

Santuzza, pregnant with Turiddu's child and suspecting that he has betrayed her with Lola, is distraught and approaches Lucia as she is comes out of her house. She asks for Turiddu, and Lucia replies that he has gone to another town to fetch some wine. Santuzza tells her that he was seen during the night in the village. Lucia asks her inside to talk, but just at that moment Alfio arrives on his wagon accompanied by the villagers. He praises the joys of a teamster's life and the beauty of his bride. Alfio asks Lucia for some of her fine old wine. She tells him it has run out and Turiddu has gone away to buy more. Alfio replies that he had seen Turiddu early that morning near his cottage. Lucia starts to express surprise, but Santuzza stops her. Alfio leaves. The choir inside the church is heard singing the 'Regina Coeli'. Outside, the villagers sing an Easter Hymn, joined by Santuzza. The villagers enter the church, while Santuzza and Lucia remain outside. Lucia asks Santuzza why she signalled her to remain silent when Alfio said that he had seen Turiddu that morning. Santuzza exclaims, "Voi lo sapete" (Now you shall know), and tells Lucia the story of her seduction by Turiddu and his affair with Lola. Lucia pities Santuzza. Santuzza, considered by the villagers to be excommunicated because of her seduction, cannot enter the church, but begs Lucia to go inside and pray for her.

Turiddu arrives. Santuzza upbraids him for pretending to have gone away, when he was actually seeing Lola. Lola enters the square singing. She mocks Santuzza and goes inside the church. Turiddu turns to follow Lola, but Santuzza begs him to stay. Turiddu repulses her. She clings to him. He loosens her hands, throws her to the ground, and enters the church. Alfio arrives looking for Lola. Santuzza tells him that his wife has betrayed him with Turiddu. The square is empty as the orchestra plays the 'Intermezzo'. The villagers come out of the church. Turiddu is in high spirits because he is with Lola and Santuzza appears to have gone. He invites his friends to his mother’s wine shop where he sings a drinking song, "Viva, il vino spumeggiante" ("Hail the flowing wine!"). Alfio joins them. Turiddu offers him wine, but he refuses it. The women leave, taking Lola with them. In a brief exchange of words, Alfio challenges Turiddu to a duel. Following Sicilian custom, the two men embrace, and Turiddu, in token of acceptance, bites Alfio’s ear, drawing blood which signifies a fight to the death. Alfio leaves and Turiddu calls Lucia back. He tells her that he is going outside to get some air and asks that she be a kindly mother to Santuzza if he should not return. "Un bacio, mamma! Un altro bacio! — Addio!" ("One kiss, my mother! One more kiss! - Farewell!")

Turiddu rushes out. Lucia, weeping, wanders aimlessly around outside her house. Santuzza approaches and throws her arms around her. The villagers start to crowd around. Voices are heard in the distance and a woman cries, "They have murdered Turiddu!" Santuzza faints and Lucia collapses in the arms of the women villagers.


Mascagni calls for a standard-sized orchestra consisting of 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (triangle, cymbals, bass drum, side drum, tamtam, tubular bells), harp, organ and strings.

elected recordings

There have been over 60 full-length recordings of "Cavalleria rusticana" published [For complete discographies, see [] and Flury, R. (2001) "Pietro Mascagni - A Bio-Bibliography", Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-29662-6] since it was first recorded in Germany in 1909. [ The first recording was sung in German and is available on the True Transfers label (TT CD 1815).] Amongst some of the more well-known studio recordings are:

Film versions

Apart from video recordings of live performances, there have been several cinematic versions of "Cavalleria rusticana", the most notable of which are:

* The 1916 silent film accompanied by Mascagni's score, directed by Ugo Falena, with Gemma Bellincioni, who had created the role of Santuzza in the opera's world premiere.

*The 1953 film directed by Carmine Gallone, using actors miming to the voices of opera singers, with a young Anthony Quinn as Alfio miming to the voice of Tito Gobbi. (Released in the US with the title "Fatal Desire")

* The 1968 film directed by Åke Falck, with Fiorenza Cossotto as Santuzza, Gianfranco Cecchele as Turiddu, Giangiacomo Guelfi as Alfio and Anna di Stasio as Lucia. (La Scala, Milan conducted by Herbert Von Karajan.)

*The 1982 film directed by Franco Zeffirelli, using opera singers for actors with Plácido Domingo as Turiddu, Yelena Obraztsova as Santuzza, Renato Bruson as Alfio and Fedora Barbieri as Lucia.

The opera's symphonic Intermezzo has figured in the sound track of several films, most notably "Raging Bull", "The Godfather Part III", "Anna Magdalena", Michael Hoffman's 1999 film adaptation of "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "In the Heat of the Sun", as well as the penultimate episode of the HBO dramatic series, "The Sopranos".




* [ Libretto of "Cavalleria Rusticana"] (accessed 8 June 2007)
* [ "Cavalleria Rusticana" on IMDb] (accessed 8 June 2007)
*Kobbé, G. (1919) "The Complete Opera Book", G. P. Putnam & Sons
* [] (accessed 8 June 2007)
*New York Metropolitan Opera [ Synopsis of "Cavalleria Rusticana"] (accessed 8 June 2007)
*New York Metropolitan Opera [ Performance Archives] (accessed 8 June 2007)
* [ Official Pietro Mascagni web site] (accessed 7 June 2007)
*Rosenthal, H. and Warrack, J. (1979) "The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera", 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press p. 88
* [ San Francisco Opera Guild] (2003) "Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci: A Teacher's Guide and Resource Book" (accessed 23 May 2007)
*Schweisheimer, W., 'Pietro Mascagni - A Tragic Figure?', "The Etude Magazine", April 1946.
*Sims, M. (2007) "'Cavalleria Rusticana", "I Pagliacci", and the Verismo Style', Programme notes, [ Concert Opera Boston] (accessed 21 May 2007)
*Stevens, D., "'Cav" and "Cav": Take 2, They're Small', "International Herald Tribune", July 25, 2001
*"Time" magazine, 'Cavalleria's Crown', August 13, 1945
*Willard, A., 'Pietro Mascagni, the Author of the Cavalleria Rusticana', "New England Magazine", Volume VIII, March - August 1893.

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См. также в других словарях:

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  • Cavalleria rusticana — est un opéra en un acte composé par Pietro Mascagni, sur un livret de Giovanni Targioni Tozzetti (librettiste) et Guido Menasci. Le livret est inspiré d une nouvelle de Giovanni Verga. Cet opéra est de loin l œuvre la plus célèbre du compositeur …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Cavalleria rusticana — (Caballerosidad Pueblerina) es una ópera del compositor Pietro Mascagni cuya función inaugural fue el 17 de mayo de 1890 en el Teatro Costanzi de Roma, consta de un solo acto y una duración de 1 hora con 10 minutos. Los personajes en la ópera son …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Cavalleria rusticana —   [italienisch »ländliche Ritterlichkeit«, »Bauernehre«], Oper von P. Mascagni, Text von G. Targioni Tozzetti und G. Menasci nach dem gleichnamigen Volksstück von G. Verga; Uraufführung 17. 5. 1890 in Rom …   Universal-Lexikon

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  • Cavalleria rusticana — Werkdaten Titel: Sizilianische Bauernehre Originaltitel: Cavalleria Rusticana Originalsprache: Italienisch Musik: Pietro Mascagni …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Cavalleria Rusticana — /kav euh leuh ree euh rus ti kan euh, roos /; It. /kah vahl le rddee ah rddoohs tee kah nah/ an opera (1890) by Pietro Mascagni …   Useful english dictionary

  • Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni) — Cavalleria rusticana Cavalleria Rusticana est un opéra en un acte composé par Pietro Mascagni, sur un livret de Giovanni Targioni Tozzetti et Guido Menasci. Le livret est inspiré d une nouvelle de Giovanni Verga. Cet opéra est de loin l œuvre la… …   Wikipédia en Français

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