Metropolitan Opera Broadcast: La Donna del Lago
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Metropolitan Opera Broadcast: Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci 

Radio Broadcast and Live in HD transmission of Saturday, April 25, 2015, 12:25 P.M. (HD), 12:30 P.M. (Radio)

Broadcast Pagliacci hdl 415
The set for David McVicar’s new production of Pagliacci at the Met, designed by Rae Smith
© Meghan Duffy/Metropolitan Opera 2015
The 2014–15 Metropolitan Opera broadcast season is sponsored by
Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®, with generous long-term support from
The Annenberg Foundation, The Neubauer Family Foundation,
the Vincent A. Stabile Endowment for Broadcast Media,
and through contributions from listeners worldwide.
The 2014–15 Metropolitan Opera broadcast season is sponsored by
Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®, with generous long-term support from
The Annenberg Foundation, The Neubauer Family Foundation,
the Vincent A. Stabile Endowment for Broadcast Media,
and through contributions from listeners worldwide.

Cavalleria Rusticana
Music by Pietro Mascagni
Libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci, based on a story and play by Giovanni Verga

Music and text by Ruggero Leoncavallo

THE CAST  (in order of vocal appearance)
Turiddu tenor, MARCELO ÁLVAREZ
Mamma Lucia      mezzo, JANE BUNNELL
Alfio baritone, ŽELJKO LUČIĆ
Peasant Woman TBA
A village in Sicily 12:30–1:54
THE CAST (in order of vocal appearance)
Tonio baritone, GEORGE GAGNIDZE
Villagers bass, DANIEL PERETTO
Silvio baritone, LUCAS MEACHEM
Montalto, a Calabrian village 2:30–3:54
Conducted by FABIO LUISI

The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
The Metropolitan Opera Chorus
The Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus

Production a gift of M. Beverly and Robert G. 
    Bartner, Mr. and Mrs. Paul M. Montrone,
    and the Estate of Anne Tallman
Major funding from Rolex

Additional funding from
    John J. Noffo Kahn and Mark Addison, and
    Paul Underwood

Production: David McVicar
Set designer: Rae Smith
Costume designer: Moritz Junge
Lighting designer: Paule Constable
Choreographer: Andrew George
Chorus master: Donald Palumbo
Musical preparation: Dennis Giauque,
    Howard Watkins, Thomas Bagwell,
    Natalia Katyukova
Assistant stage directors: Gregory Keller,
    Gina Lapinksi, Louisa Muller
Vaudeville consultant (Pagliacci): Emil Wolk
Children’s chorus director: Anthony Piccolo
Prompter: Thomas Bagwell
Italian coach: Loretta Di Franco

Host: Margaret Juntwait
Commentator: Ira Siff
Music producer: Jay David Saks
Producers: Mary Jo Heath, Ellen Keel,
    William Berger
Executive producers: Mia Bongiovanni,
    Elena Park

Directed for Live Cinema by: Gary Halvorson
HD host: Susan Graham
Send quiz questions to:
    Metropolitan Opera Quiz
    Metropolitan Opera
    30 Lincoln Center
    New York, NY 10023
    or e-mail
This performance is also being broadcast live
    on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SiriusXM channel 74.
This performance will be transmitted live, in high definition and surround sound, into selected movie theaters as part of The Met: Live in HD series, and will be shared with students in more than 150 U.S. schools as part of the Met’s HD Live in Schools program. For information on tickets, visit


Easter dawns in a Sicilian village. Turiddu is heard in the distance singing about Lola, wife of the prosperous carter Alfio ("O Lola, bianca come fior di spino"). Townsfolk and fieldworkers mingle in the piazza, then disperse. Santuzza approaches Mamma Lucia's tavern looking for her son Turiddu; the old woman says he is away buying wine. Alfio arrives with his friends, boasting of his horses - and of his new wife, Lola ("Il cavallo scalpita"). He leaves as the villagers follow a procession to mass. Santuzza, who is unwilling to enter the church, stays behind to tell Mamma Lucia that Turiddu has abandoned her for his old flame, Lola ("Voi lo sapete"). The old woman leaves for mass, and Santuzza confronts Turiddu ("Tu qui, Santuzza?"). Lola saunters in, infuriating Santuzza with her brazen arrogance. Lola enters the church, and Santuzza resumes her pleading, but Turiddu refuses to listen. Pushing her to the ground, he runs into the church. Santuzza curses him. When Alfio arrives, Santuzza reveals that his wife has been cheating on him. Alfio swears to get even and rushes off, followed by the now conscience-stricken Santuzza.


The villagers exit the church and join Turiddu in a drinking song ("Viva il vino spumeggiante"), but the atmosphere becomes tense when Alfio appears, insulting Turiddu and challenging him to a knife fight. Turiddu admits his guilt but will go through with the fight, for Santuzza's sake as well as for honor. Alone with his mother, Turiddu thanks her for the wine and begs her to take care of Santuzza if he doesn't come back ("Mamma, quel vino"). As Mamma Lucia waits anxiously in the piazza, shouts are heard in the distance. A woman runs in screaming that Turiddu has been killed.


PROLOGUE. Before the opera begins, Tonio the clown steps before the curtain ("Si può?") to announce that the author has written a true story and that even actors and clowns have the same joys and sorrows as other people.

ACT I. Villagers in a town in Calabria gather around a small theatrical company that has just arrived. Canio, the head of the troupe, describes the night's offerings ("Un grande spettacolo"). When one of the villagers suggests that Tonio is secretly courting Canio's wife, Nedda, Canio warns that he will tolerate no flirting off stage ("Un tal gioco"). Vesper bells call the women to church and the men to the tavern, leaving Nedda alone. Disturbed by her husband's jealousy, she envies the freedom of the birds in flight ("Stridono lassù"). Tonio tries to force himself on her. She beats him back, and he swears revenge. In fact, Nedda does have a lover - Silvio, who appears and persuades her to run away with him after the evening's performance ("E allor perchè"). Tonio overhears this and hurries off to tell Canio. The jealous husband bursts in on the guilty pair, but Silvio runs away before Canio can identify him. Nedda, even when threatened with a knife, refuses to reveal the man's name. Beppe, another clown, restrains Canio, and Tonio advises him to wait until the evening's performance to catch Nedda's lover. Alone, Canio bitterly reflects that he must play the clown while his heart is breaking ("Vesti la giubba").

ACT II. The villagers, including Silvio, assemble to see the commedia dell'arte performance.

Harlequin (played by Beppe) serenades Columbina (Nedda) and dismisses her buffoonish servant Taddeo (Tonio). The two lovers dine together and plot to poison Columbina's husband Pagliaccio (played by Canio), who soon arrives. Harlequin slips away. With pointed malice, Taddeo assures Pagliaccio of his wife's innocence, which ignites Canio's jealousy. Forgetting the play, he demands Nedda tell him the name of her lover ("No, Pagliaccio non son"). She tries to continue with the play, the audience enthralled by its realism. Enraged, Canio stabs Nedda and Silvio, who rushes to help her. Tonio announces to the horrified villagers that the comedy is ended.


Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945), born the son of a baker in Livorno (Leghorn), studied for the law but pursued a musical career despite parental disapproval. Enrolled at the Milan Conservatory, he dropped out when lured by an offer from a touring opera company. His career as a conductor was not glorious, but it did teach him what works onstage and what doesn't - lessons applied erratically to his later efforts. Mascagni's first opera to be staged was Cavalleria Rusticana, based on a popular story and play by the Sicilian Giovanni Verga. It won the starving composer first place in a competition sponsored by the publishing house of Sonzogno.

The premiere, on May 17, 1890, in Rome at the Teatro Costanzi, was a smashing success. Gemma Bellincioni and Roberto Stagno sang the leads, and the composer enjoyed forty curtain calls. Ca-valleria entered the Met repertory during a company tour stop in Chicago on December 4, 1891, paired with Act I of La Traviata. Emma Eames and Fernando Valero were the Met's first Santuzza and Turiddu. Eames and Valero led the cast at the opera's first performance at the Metropolitan Opera House on December 30, 1891, when Mascagni's work shared the bill with Gluck's Orfeo.


Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919) was born and educated in Naples. Like Mascagni, he never again equaled his first day of glory. Starting as a café pianist and accompanist, he nourished hopes of creating a trilogy on the Medici family, but it was Pagliacci that put him on the map. He penned his own libretto, basing it on a story he remembered from his youth, when the real-life Canio faced Leoncavallo's magistrate father in the town of Montalto in Calabria.

Arturo Toscanini conducted Pagliacci's premiere at the Teatro dal Verme in Milan on May 21, 1892. The opera reached the U.S. on June 15, 1893, at New York's Grand Opera House. The first Met production came later that year (paired with Orfeo ed Euridice); Nellie Melba starred, with Fernando de Lucia as Canio, but history best remembers Enrico Caruso, who sang Canio with the company 116 times. The Met's current production of Cavalleria and Pagliacci bowed on January 8, 1970.


Alan Mallach's Pietro Mascagni and His Operas (Northeastern) is an admirably thorough, clear-eyed study of the man and his music that examines in detail the composer's colorful life and controversial reputation, including his questionable Fascist-era political affiliations. No comparable modern study on Leoncavallo is currently in print. Schirmer and Ricordi both have scores of Cavalleria and Pagliacci in their catalogues.

On CD, James Levine's stunning Cavalleria from 1978 (RCA) still packs a punch, with Renata Scotto and Plácido Domingo in dazzling form as Santuzza and Turiddu. Serafin's first Cavalleria recording (EMI) stars Maria Callas and Giuseppe di Stefano, each ideally cast; Karajan's more sinewy reading (DG) offers the red-blooded performances of Fiorenza Cossotto and Carlo Bergonzi. Mascagni's own 1940 recording, with Beniamino Gigli and Lina Bruna Rasa as its stars, is available in an excellent remastering from Naxos. Among recorded Pagliaccis, Nello Santi's 1972 RCA performance crackles with energy, thanks to Domingo, Sherrill Milnes and a surprisingly vivid Montserrat Caballé. Renato Cellini's 1954 Pagliacci (EMI) boasts Jussi Björling's clean, elegant phrasing and the ear-catching pathos of Victoria de los Angeles. Gigli is Canio, Iva Pacetti his Santuzza, on the 1934 La Scala recording, remastered on Naxos.

On DVD, Franco Zeffirelli's films of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, both starring Domingo, offer the world of verismo in the director's typical glamour-drenched style (Philips). Of the two movies, Cavalleria, filmed on location in Sicily, is the more successful, with Domingo and Elena Obraztsova, his Santuzza, delivering a blazing duet; Pagliacci, updated to the early twentieth century and costarring Teresa Stratas (Nedda) and Juan Pons (Tonio), is less persuasive, its drama sunk by a surfeit of lovingly photographed period detail. The most exciting of the available DVD Pagliaccis is a black-and-white 1954 Italian television film (VAI), with the young Franco Corelli (in brilliant voice as Canio), Mafalda Micheluzzi (Nedda) and Tito Gobbi (Tonio). Vladimir Atlantov is the stentorian Canio of the Bolshoi's Pagliacci (Universal). The 1943 Benia-mino Gigli/ Alida Valli film Ridi, Pagliaccio (Bel Canto) is an entertaining fictionalization of the creation of Leoncavallo's opera. spacer 

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