This classical ‘double bill’, related to the Italian operatic tradition of verismo, consists of two pieces, depicting everyday stories and passions of ordinary people that enthralled the audiences from many musical theatre stages at the end of the 19th century. They were staged together for the first time in 1893 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Similarly to most new artistic and cultural movements, Italian verismo emerged as a response to social and economic circumstances as well as a depiction of real life and thus became a powerful literary, theatrical, musical and somewhat later film style that greatly influenced various further modern artistic movements. One of the first operas of the new stylistic orientation - Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana -, is pervaded with love, jealousy, violence and honour. Even in the musical sense, this work is filled with the themes, reflecting the action, imbued by the feeling of drama and passion. The one act opera was inspired by the eponymous literary source or rather the dramatic text by Giovanni Verga, based on a true story. The drama also impressed the then famous actress Eleonora Duse. The opera was premiered in 1890, at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome with tremendous success. Two years later, Leoncavallo, inspired by the magnificent reception of Cavalleria Rusticana, decided to place into a similar environment, provided by the picturesque countryside of South Italy, his next opera Pagliacci, in which he depicted - turning this time to the style of commedia dell'arte -, a story about a travelling acting family and his vision of a real tragedy from a village in Calabria. Both of these famous operatic pieces have inspired its audiences by their distinct elementary music since their creation, whereas the mastery of their authors has been ensuring the operatic art an eternal primacy in the field of expressing extreme human emotions and passions.
This production's stage direction has been entrusted to our theatre's old acquaintance Manfred Schweigkofler, whereas our Opera Orchestra will be conducted for the first time by the internationally renowned American conductor of Italian origin Marc Tardue.