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Mascagni, P. (1863-1945)

Cavalleria Rusticana

Rustic Chivalry

Composed 1889.
First performed May 17, 1890.
Libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci (in Itarian),
after Verga.

A Summary of gCavalleria Rusticanah

Act 1
In about 1890, on Sicily Island, in the morning during Easter, Santuzza who is a lady in a village and visits Lucia who is the mother of Santuzzafs lover, Turiddu. Santuzza asks Lucia where her son has gone. Santuzza knew that Turiddu had spent that previous night with Lola who is a Turiddufs former lover. Lola married Alfio, when Turiddu served in the army. Santuzza complains to Turiddufs mother, but Lucia also isnft in the position to do anything to stop Turiddu.

Santuzza goes to the church. In front of the church, she happens to see her lover, Turiddu. She asks him, gWhere were you last night?h But, Turiddu refuses to answer. On the contrary, he attempts to enter the church with Lola who has just arrived. Santuzza clings to him, but he pushes her away.

Santuzza feels sad. Then, Alfio, who is Lolafs husband, arrives, too. Santuzza decides to reveal to him about his wife. Of course, Alfio is infuriated. So, he swears revenge to Turiddu. Santuzza regrets telling him, and is now worried about Turiddu. Turiddu returns home.

Later that day, Turiddu is at home drinking with his friends. Then, Alfio appears. Turiddu urges him to drink with them, but Alfio refuses. Turiddu understands why Alfio visits him, and he challenges Alfio to a duel.

Turiddu says to his mother, Lucia, goodbye, he pretends to be drunk. And he asks her to take care of Santuzza, when he dies. Then, he goes to the field for the duel.

As a result of the duel, a village lady screams, gTuriddu was killed!h Lucia and Santuzza lose consciousness upon hearing that.

A Comment on gCavalleria Rusticanah

The Italian publishing company, Sonzogno, holds the opera composition contest. The application condition for this contest is a one-act opera. In 1889, in the second contest, Pietro Mascagni who composed the opera, gCavalleria Rusticana,h won the first prize. Then, Mascagni was 26 years old. The first performance of this opera the next year created a big stir. Mascagni gained the status of international famous opera composer. After composing this opera, Mascagni composed another 15 operas, but none of them gained popularity.

gCavalleria Rusticanah is the most important work of gverismo operah which is a kind of realism opera. Verismo opera expresses the reality of ordinary life. Verismo opera became in fashion from this opera, but only a few of these operas succeeded. gCavalleria Rusticanah means gRustic Chivalryh in English. This opera expresses an ambience of Southern Italy of those days.
It's not important, but I heard that Mascagni starts to compose this opera from the last scene in which a village lady screams.

The reason it gained popularity among people is that this opera has both dramatic melodies and lyrical melodies. For example, Siciliana sung by Turiddu is accompanied on the harp. The imperious chorus sung with Santuzza is very beautiful. In addition, the intermezzo set before the dramatic last scene is called gIntermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana.h And, this Intermezzo is the most popular lyrical melodies all over the world.

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