Opera's Greatest Double Bill. From the opening notes of the famous Prologue in Pagliacci
to the final heart-wrenching chords which herald the conclusion of Cavalleria Rusticana
, these two operas show both their composers at the very height of their creative powers. The sun-baked atmosphere of Southern Italy and Sicily is vividly brought to life in these powerful evocations of Love, Jealousy and Death. In Pagliacci
, Leoncavallo conjures up the heightened village atmosphere when a group of travelling players, led by Canio, arrive to perform in the square. The affection of his wife Nedda for one of the villagers is cruelly revealed to her jealous husband by the spiteful Tonio. In one of opera's most arresting moments, Canio finds he must don his clown's habit and make-up for the impending performance, whilst the real-life tragedy unfolds. In the powerful finale, reality overtakes the comedy being enacted on stage. Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana
takes place in a Sicilian village where the villagers are preparing to celebrate Easter. Santuzza is convinced that her lover Turridu is infatuated with Alfio's wife Lola and in a fit of anger she tells the jealous Alfio. Turridu, haunted by dark foreboding, finds even his Mother's wine tastes bitter as he prepares to meet Alfio to settle matters in the traditional way. The first part of the opera closes with the glorious Easter Hymn whilst the famous Intermezzo provides a link to the inevitable tragic finale. In the Round - Sung in English. Classic FMPerformers David Rendall, Anne-Marie Owens, Phillip Joll, Mary Hegarty, Judith Howarth, John Hudson, Roderick Earle, Christine Bunning, Adrian Thompson, Michelle Walton, Iain Paton, David Stephenson.
Producer Raymond Gubbay. Music Mascagni. Music Leoncavallo. Company Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Director Martin Duncan. Design Alison Chitty. Lighting Andrew Bridge. Director Brad Cohen (music). Company Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor Brad Cohen.