Opera’s indomitable double bill returns in Sir David McVicar’s searing production from the 2014–15 season. Tenor Yonghoon Lee and mezzo-soprano Violeta Urmana star in Cavalleria Rusticana, the tragedy of ancient codes and illicit love, Sicilian style. In the second half of the pair of verismo potboilers, tenor Roberto Alagna is the murderous clown Canio and soprano Barbara Frittoli is his philandering wife. Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi is on the podium.
Jan 21 – Feb 26 2016
Cavalleria Rusticana, World premiere: Teatro Costanzi, Rome, 1890. Met company premiere: Chicago (on tour), December 4, 1891.
Pagliacci, World premiere: Teatro dal Verme, Milan, 1892. Met premiere: December 11, 1893.
Two tales of passion, jealousy, and death set in southern Italy, Cav/Pag have been all but inseparable on the opera stages of the world since the Met first presented them as a double bill in 1893. The overwhelming success of Cavalleria was crucial in launching the verismo movement, inspiring other composers (including Leoncavallo) to turn to stories and characters from real life, and often from society’s grungier elements.
The setting of Cavalleria Rusticana in a Sicilian village is not merely picturesque. The village is, in a sense, a character in the opera—a crude place, untouched by modernity, close to nature’s cycles of life and death and the primitive human rituals associated with them. Pagliacci is originally set in Calabria, the Italian mainland region closest to Sicily. In the Met’s production, the action takes place in the same village across two generations, with Cavalleria set in 1900 and Pagliacci set in 1949.
GALLERY (Click to enlarge)