The earliest operatic embodiment of the Verismo aesthetics was Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana, adapted from a short story by Giovanni Verga depicting the archaic Sicilian conflict between love and jealousy, religion and macho pride, social control and violence. The plot is about humble village people: Turiddu, the lad back home from the army, his mother Lucia, his two loves Lola and Santuzza, the teamster Alfio, Lola’s vindictive husband. The melodic expression of their emotions is simple and direct: orchestral interludes and accompaniment serve to emphasize the dramatic action. The audience at the first performance at the Costanzi Theatre in Rome, May 17, 1890, loved at once the opera’s intense naturalism. None of Mascagni’s later operas had nearly the same impact.
La Fenice new production
with Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia
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