Preloader Operavision
La Monnaie / De Munt
14.03.2018 at 19h30 CET
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - 19:30

La Monnaie / De Munt

Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci

Two Italian Verismo classics meet, depicting the harsh realities of life through an intense emotional framework

Operas | Mascagni / Leoncavallo

Sung in Italian with subtitles in English, French and German

A coproduction between La Monnaie / De Munt, Royal Opera House, Opera Australia and Göteborgsoperan

Available from
14.03.2018 at 19h30 CET

Available until
13.09.2018 at 23h59 CET

SantuzzaEva-Maria Westbroek
LolaJosè Maria Lo Monaco
TuridduTeodor Ilincai
AlfioDimitri Platanias
LuciaElena Zilio
NeddaAinhoa Arteta
CanioCarlo Ventre
TonioScott Hendricks
PeppeTansel Akzeybek
SilvioGabriele Nani
ChorusLa Monnaie Chorus
OrchestraLa Monnaie Symphony Orchestra

Music Mascagni / Leoncavallo
TextGiovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menaschi / Ruggero Leoncavallo
ConductorBenoît Giaux

Cavalleria Rusticana

It is Easter morning. In the main square of the village, Turridu is singing a siciliana (‘O Lola ch’ai di latti la cammisa’/'O Lola! like the snow, pure in thy whiteness!') Lucia has a wine shop to one side of the square beside the church; nearby is the house where she and her son Turridu live. Villagers wander about, singing about the beautiful spring day.

For context, it is important to note that Turridu has returned from the military and has discovered that his fiancée Lola married Alfio, a carter, while he was away. Turridu was heartbroken and avenged himself by seducing Santuzza, another young woman in the village.

Santuzza searches for Turridu and is upset because she suspects Turridu is not over Lola and has been with her once more. His mother Lucia tells Santuzza that he went to the next village to fetch more wine, but Santuzza saw him last night in their village and is unconvinced. Lucia invites Santuzza in but Alfio interrupts, arriving on his wagon with a group of villagers. He brags about his new wife, Lola, and asks Lucia for a fine wine. Again Lucia says that Turridu has gone to fetch wine from another village, and Alfio claims he has also seen him.

After Alfio leaves, Santuzza meets Lucia again outside the church. Lucia demands to know why Santuzza did not admit to Alfio that she also saw Turridu in the village. ‘Voi lo sapete,’(‘you well know,’) replies Santuzza. She admits to Lucia that Turridu seduced her and then had an affair with Lola. Lucia is sympathetic. When Turridu arrives, Santuzza accuses him of being with Lola, not having gone to fetch wine as he had told his mother. Turridu pushes her to the ground. When Alfio returns, Santuzza tells him that Lola betrayed him by returning to Turridu. Alfio swears he will have his revenge.

Turridu invites the villagers to his mother’s shop and brings Lola. Everyone is in high spirits, but there is tension in the air when Alfio arrives and refuses Turridu’s offer of wine. All the women leave, including Lola, and Alfio challenges Turridu to a duel.

As the opera ends, the villagers cry that Turridu has been killed. Santuzza and Lucia collapse from grief.


The story follows a group of actors in the 1800s who play traditional Italian Commedia dell’arte characters.

Tonio is dressed as his character Taddeo,  and addresses the audience, reminding them that actors are real people.

The Commedia actors enter a village in the afternoon. Canio describes last night’s performance, about the troubles of Pagliaccio. Canio and Tonio seem to have a rivalry regarding Nedda, Canio’s wife.

At the local tavern, Canio and Beppe drink, but Tonio doesn’t join them. The villagers joke that Tonio wants to have an affair with Nedda. Indeed, when they are alone, Tonio confesses that he loves Nedda, but she only laughs at him. However, Nedda actually has a lover, Silvio, who asks her to elope with him. Nedda agrees, but Tonio has overheard the lovers’ conversation.

The crowd arrives for the evening’s performance and Nedda, dressed as Colombina, takes their admission fees. In the play, art begins to blur the borders with life: Colombina’s (Nedda’s) husband Pagliaccio (Canio) has gone away for the night. Taddeo (Tonio) is at the market. Colombina waits for Arlecchino (Beppe), her lover.

As the performance continues, Canio becomes jealous and begins to mix play and reality. He demands to know the name of Nedda’s lover, and he means it in the real-life sense. Nedda addresses him as Pagliaccio to bring him back into character. Canio is more and more disturbed, his face pale. The audience assumes it is a tour de force performance of magnificent acting, and they cheer him on.

Canio keeps demanding the name of Nedda’s lover, and she keeps refusing to tell him. He stabs her with a knife. She calls out Silvio’s name as she dies, and Canio kills him too. As the audience regards this tableau with horror, we hear, ‘La commedia è finita! (‘The comedy is over!’)