Pagliacci / Cavalleria rusticana -Leoncavallo / Mascagni

Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci are two distinct one-act operas that are often performed together as a double bill. They represent the pinnacle of the Italian verismo movement, which emerged in the late 19th century and aimed to depict real-life characters and emotions on the opera stage. Both operas are renowned for their intense drama, vivid storytelling, and powerful music.

Cavalleria Rusticana, composed by Pietro Mascagni with a libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci, premiered in 1890. The opera is set in a small Sicilian village and revolves around the love triangle between Turiddu, his former lover Lola, and his current fiancée Santuzza. The plot is fueled by jealousy, betrayal, and revenge, leading to a tragic and explosive climax. Cavalleria Rusticana is characterized by its melodic richness and passionate arias, such as the famous « Intermezzo, » which is often performed as a standalone orchestral piece.

Pagliacci, composed by Ruggero Leoncavallo, made its debut in 1892. The opera takes place in Calabria, Italy, and focuses on a troupe of traveling actors led by Canio, who plays the role of Pagliaccio (the clown). Canio’s wife Nedda is secretly involved with another man, Silvio, which triggers a chain of events leading to a heart-wrenching finale. Pagliacci is known for its raw emotional intensity and its famous aria « Vesti la giubba, » in which Canio expresses his anguish and sorrow while preparing to go on stage.

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Critères : Opera allemand, langue allemande, 20 -ème siècle,  grand plateau, grande fosse orchestre

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