Two exiting new productions on one bill!
The Met Opera presents a double bill of operas - Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni and Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo, as imagined by Sir David McVicar. Both operas are set in Sicily, though in different time periods, and the innovative set design has been undertaken by Rae Smith (War Horse).
What are they about?
In Cavalleria Rusticana, jealousy trumps love in a 1900 century Sicilian village when the local lothario Turiddu chases after his ex-paramour Lola, much to the dismay of Santuzza, the woman he seduced and later abandoned. Spurned, Santuzza tells Lola's husband Alfio that Turiddu has been pursuing his wife, and Alfio swears bloody vengeance. Things come to a head when Turiddu is challenged to a knife-fight by Alfio. Realising that he must now defend his honor, and that of Santuzza, he agrees and the pair leave the village to duel. A woman enters later screaming that Turiddu is dead, a heavy price borne by both Santuzza and her rival Lola.
Pagliacci takes place at a post war Sicilian truck-stop, 40 years after the events of Cavalleria Rusticana. The travelling vaudeville troupe prepare to put on a play for the patrons, a play of love, jealousy and betrayal. Canio, who plays the fictional clown Pagliacci, even though his heart is breaking; his wife Nedda has been unfaithful to him, even though she refuses to give up her lover's identity; he is in fact a local villager called Silvio.
The troupe stages the play later that evening for the villagers near the truck stop. The play ceases to be a mere fiction as parallels between the play and real events become painfully apparent. Canio suddenly breaks character as the clown, and stabs both Nedda and Silvio to death in front of the horrified villagers, announcing that the play is over.