Opera Cavalleria Rusticana


SANTUZZA, a peasant girl (soprano or mezzo-soprano)
TURIDDU, a young peasant (tenor)
LUCIA, his mother (contralto)
ALFIO, a carter (baritone)
LOLA, his wife (mezzo-soprano)
CHORUS: villagers
Place: A village in Sicily
Time: About 1880, on Easter Sunday

Cavalleria rusticana is the opera which Anthony Corleone appeared in at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo. Written by Pietro Mascagni, it first premiered in 1890.

  1. When 'Cavalleria Rusticana' was produced, no Italian opera had achieved such a triumph since 'Aida' - a period to nearly twenty years. It was hoped that Mascagni would prove to be Verdi’s successor, a hope which, needless to say, has not been fulfilled.
  2. A sensation from the first notes of its premiere on May 17, 1890, Cavalleria rusticana appears inMOTion at the rustic and beautiful Meadow Brook Amphitheater, the perfect place for an opera that brings to life the beauty of the countryside.
  3. DETROIT, April 29, 2021 – Michigan Opera Theatre leadership has postponed the first performance of the 2021-22 season to allow for more favorable weather conditions, and announces the production’s international cast. A concert version of Cavalleria rusticana was set to be performed at Meadow Brook Amphitheatre on May 15, but MOT officials have postponed the Read More.
behind the curtain
O Lola, white and red as the cherry
In your nightdress white as milk,
When you appear at the window you smile;
Happy he who gave you your first kiss!
The mark of blood is over your door,
But I care not if I am killed;
If through you I die and go to Paradise,
It will not be Paradise for me unless you are there.
A square in the village. In the background right, a church with a door. On the left, the inn and Mother Lucia's house. At first the stage is empty. Dawn is breaking.
Introductory Chorus
from within
from within
The orange trees lilt he green grovesCavalier rusticana opera youtube
Scent the air,
The larks sing
Through the flowering myrtles;
Now is the time
For everyone to murmur
The tender song
Which quickens the heart.
The women enter.
from within
Across the fields
Amid the golden corn
The sound of your shuttles
Reaches us
In our fatigue.
Lightening our labour.
We think of you,
Sweet rays of sunshine.
We hasten to you
As a bird flies
To his mate's call.
The men enter.
Now cease
Your rustic tasks;
The blessed Virgin is gladdened
By the Saviour;
Now is the time
For everyone to murmur
The tender song
Which quickens the heart.
Across the fields, etc.
The orange trees in the green groves, etc.
The chorus crosses the stage and goes out.
Santuzza and Lucia
Tell me, mother Lucia …
You? What do you want?
Where is Turiddu?
Have you come here
To look for my son?
I beg you to forgive me.
I only want to know where I can find him.
I do not know.
Don't bother me!
Mother Lucia, in tears I implore you,
Be merciful as Our Lord was to Magdalene
And tell me where Turiddu is …
He went to Francolonte
For the wine.
No! He was seen
In the village late last night.
What are you saying?
He's not returned home!
turning towards the door of her house
Come in!
I cannot enter your house!
I have been damned!
What then do you know
Of my son?

Opera Cavalleria Rusticana

What a thorn I have in my heart!
Scene with Alfio and Chorus
Alfio, Chorus and the above
The horses' hooves thunder,
The harness bells jingle,
The whip cracks. Get along!
Let the wind blow cold,
Rain or snow fall,
What care I?
O a carter's life
Is a fine life,
Going from place to place!
The whip cracks!
At home, awaiting me,
Is Lola, who loves me and comforts me
And is ever true.
The horses' hooves thunder,
The harness bells jingle,
It's Easter, and here I am!
O a carter's life, etc.
Get along! The whip cracks!
Here I am!
O a carter's life, etc.
It's Easter, and here I am!
Scene and Prayer
You are lucky, friend Alfio,

Cavalleria Rusticana Opera Arias

To be always so gay!
Mother Lucia,
Do you still have some
Of that vintage wine?
I know I haven't:
Turiddu has gone
To get some.
But he's still here!
I saw him this morning
Near my house.
quickly to Lucia
From the church is heard the Alleluja.
I'm going;
You women go to church.
inside the church
Regina coeli laetare.
Quia quem meruisti portare.
Resurrexit sicut dixit.
in the square
Let us rejoice
That Our Lord is not dead,
And in glory
Has opened the tomb!
Let us rejoice
That Our Lord is risen again
And today is gone up
Into the glory of Heaven!
inside the church
All enter the church except Santuzza and Lucia.
Romance and Scene
Lucia and Santuzza
Why did you signal me
To be silent?
O mother, you know
That before he went for a soldier
Turiddu had sworn
Eternal faith to Lola.
On his return, he found her married,
And sought with a new love
To quell the flame
Which burned in his heart:
He loved me, I loved him.
But she, envious of my only delight
And forgetful of her husband,
Burned with jealousy …
She stole him from me …
And I am left disgraced;
Lola and Turiddu are lovers,
And I am left to weep.
Lord have mercy!
What is this you've come to tell me
On this holy day?
l am condemned!
O mother, go
And pray to God
And pray for me too!
When Turiddu comes,
I will plead with him
Once again.
going towards the church
Holy Mary,
Have mercy upon her!
Santuzza and Turiddu
You here, Santuzza?
I was waiting here for you.
It is Easter;
Aren't you going to church?
I cannot.
I must speak to you …
I was looking for my mother.
I must speak to you …
Not here! not here!
Where have you been?
What do you mean?
At Francofonte!
No, its not true!
Santuzza, believe me …
No, do not lie;
I saw you returning
Down the road …
And this morning at dawn
You were seen
Near Lola's door.
Ha! You were spying on me!
No, I swear it.
Alfio, her husband,
Was telling us
Just now.
Is this the way you return
The love I bear you?
Do you want me killed?
Oh, do not say such things …
Leave me then, leave me;
In vain you try,
With your pleas for pity,
To lessen my scorn.
Then you love her?
Lola is
Far more lovely.
Be quiet, I do not love her.
You do love her …
A curse upon her!
That wicked woman
Stole you from me!
Take care, Santuzza.
I am not the slave
Of this mad
Jealousy of yours!
Beat me, insult me,
I love you and forgive you;
But my anguish
Is too much to hear.
Lola's Refrain
Lola and the above
O flower of the iris,
The angels in their beauty
Stand a thousandfold in Heaven,
But only one there is
As handsome as he. Ah!
O flower of the iris …
Oh! Turiddu … has Alfio been here?
I've just come into the square.
I do not know …
Perhaps he was kept
At the blacksmith's,
But he can't he long.
And you … are you listening
To the service from the square?
Santuzza was telling me …
I was saying that today is Easter,
And the Lord sees everything!
Aren't you coming to Mass?
Not I: only they can go
Who know they are free from sin.
I thank the Lord
And kiss the ground.
Oh, you're so good, Lola!
to Lola
Come, let us leave her!
Why do we stay here?
Do stay here!
to Turiddu
Yes, stay, oh stay,
I've more to tell you!
The Lord be with you;
I'm going.
goes into the church
Santuzza and Turiddu
Ah, you see?
What have you said … ?
You wished it: then so be it.
rushing forward
Ah! By Heaven!
Tear me to pieces!
turning away
holding him back
Turiddu, listen!
Go away!
No, no. Turiddu,
Stay with me awhile.
Why do you seek
To fly from me?
Why do you follow me
And spy on me
Without respite
To the very doors of the church?
Your own Santuzza
Weeps and pleads with you;
How could you
Drive her away like this?
Go, I say.
Do not plague me;
Vain is your repentance
After what you have done.
Take care!
I do not heed your anger.
He throws her to the ground and flees into the church.
in a fury
May your Easter be cursed, you traitor!
She falls, overcome with anguish.
Alfio, entering, encounters Santuzza.
Santuzza and Alfio
Oh! The Lord has sent you,
Good Alfio.
How far on is the Mass?
It's nearly over ... but listen!
Lola has gone with Turiddu!
in surprise
What are you saying?
That while you go driving
In rain and wind
To earn your living.
Lola is adorning your head
In an ugly way!
What! In Heaven's name,
Santa, what are you saying?
The truth. Turiddu
Stole my honour,
And your wife
Has stolen him from me!
If you're lying,
I'll tear your heart out!
My lips are not in the habit
Of uttering lies!
It was the bitter truth
I told you, alas,

Opera Cavalleria Rusticana Trama

In my shame
And my sorrow.
Then I am grateful to you.
I am vile
To have told you this.
It is they who are vile:
I will not forgive them;
I will have vengeance
Before the sun goes down.
I will have blood,
My rage shall know no bounds,
And all my love
Shall end in hate.
Symphonic Intermezzo
The people come out of church.
Lucia crosses the stage and goes into her house.

Scene, Chorus and Toasts
Lola, Turiddu and Chorus
Let us go homewards,
Friends, to where
Our womenfolk await us!
Let us hasten
Without delay
Now that gladness
Has soothed our hearts.
Let us go homewards,
Friends, to where
Our husbands await us!
Let us hasten
Without delay
Now that gladness
Has soothed our hearts.
The chorus goes off.
to Lola as she goes
Mistress Lola,
Are you going
Without a word of greeting?
I must go home:
I have not seen Alfio!
Don't give it a thought;
He'll be coming to the square.
to the chorus
Meanwhile, friends,
Come, let's drink together!
All come to the inn table and take winecups.
Hurrah for the sparkling wine
Bubbling in the glass,
Bringing happiness
Like a lover's smile!
Hurrah for friendly wine
That livens every thought

Opera Cavalleria Rusticana Intermezzo

And banishes melancholy
In cheerful drinking!
to Lola
To your love!
He drinks.
to Turiddu
To your good fortune!
She drinks.
Drink up!
Hurrah! Drink up!
Continue the tournament!
Hurrah for the sparkling wine, etc.
enter Alfio
Alfio and the above
Greetings to you all!
Greetings, friend Alfio!
You must drink with us:
fills a glass
Here, I've filled you a glass.

Opera Cavalleria Rusticana Youtube

rejecting it
Thank you, but I cannot
Accept your wine.
It would turn to poison
Inside me.
throwing the wine away
As you please!
Alas! How will this end?
to Lola
Mistress Lola,
This is no place for us.
All the women go out, taking Lola with them.
Have you anything else to say to me?
I? Nothing!
Then I'm at your service.
Right away?
Right away!
Alfio and Turiddu embrace: Turiddu bites Alfio's right ear in challenge.
Friend Turiddu,
You bit my ear.Met opera cavalleria rusticana
I am sure
We understand each other!
Friend Alfio,
I know that I have wronged you;
And I swear to you
By Heaven above
That I would cut my throat
Like a dog
Save that … if I do not live,
Poor Santa
Will be left deserted …
She who gave herself to me …
But I can plant my knife
In your heart!Cavalleria
My friend,
Do as you please;
I'll wait for you outside,
Behind the orchard.
Lucia and Turiddu

Cavalleria Rusticana Meaning

That wine is strong.
And in truth I've drunk
Too much of it today …
I must go out into the fields.
But give me first
Your blessing.
As you did that day
When I went off as a soldier…
And then … mother… listen …
If I should not return
You must be a mother

Opera Cavalleria Rusticana Synopsis

To Santuzza,
Whom I promised
To lead to the altar.
My son, what is this you're saying?
Oh, nothing!
It is the wine within me speaking.
Pray to Heaven for me!
One kiss, mother …
One more kiss … farewell!
He embraces her and rushes out.
Lucia, Santuzza and Chorus
desperately, hurrying alter him
Turiddu. What do you mean'?
Turiddu! Turiddu! Ah!
enter Santuzza
throwing her arms round Lucia's neck
Oh mother!
The scene fills with people.
A confused noise is heard from the distance.

Turiddu has been killed!
They all scream.

Music with Ease > 19th Century Italian Opera > Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni) - Synopsis

Cavalleria Rusticana -
(English title: Rustic Chivalry)
An Opera by Pietro Mascagni

Opera, in one act, by Mascagni; words by Giovanni Targioni-Toggetti and G. Menasci, the libretto being founded on a story by Giovanni Verga. Produced, Constanzi Theatre, Rome, May 17, 1890. London, Shaftesbury Theatre, October 19, 1891. Covent Garden, May 16, 1892. America: Philadelphia, Grand Opera, House, September 9, 1891, under the direction of Gustav Hinrichs, with Selma Kronold (Santuzza), Miss Campbell (Lola), Jeannie Teal (Lucia), Guille (Turridu), Del Puente (Alfio). Chicago, September 30, 1891, with Minnie Hauck as Santuzza. New York, October 1, 1891, at afternoon 'dress rehearsal' at the Casino, under the direction of Rudolph Aronson, with Laura Bellini (Santuzza), Grace Golden (Lalo), Helen von Doenhof (Lucia), Charles Bassett (Turridu), William Pruette (Alfio), Gustav Kerker, conductor, Heinrich Conried, stage manager. Evening of same day, at the Lenox Lyceum, under the direction of Oscar Hammerstein, with Mme. Janouschoffsky (Santuzza), Mrs. Pemberton Hincks (Lola), Mrs. Jennie Bohner (Lucia), Payne Clarke (Turiddu), Herman Gerold (Alfio), Adolph Neuendorff, conductor. Metropolitan Opera House, December 30, 1891, with Eames as Santuzza: November 29, 1893, with Calvé (début) as Santuzza.
TURIDDU, a young soldier………………………….. Tenor
ALFIO, the village teamster…………………………. Baritone
LOLA, his wife……………………………………… Mezzo-soprano
MAMMA LUCIA, Turiddu’s mother………………. Contralto
SANTUZZA, a village girl…………………………. Soprano
Villagers, peasants, boys.
Time: The present, on Easter day.
Place: A village in Sicily.
'Cavalleria Rusticana' in its original form is a short story, compact and tense, by Giovanni Verga. From it was made the stage tragedy, in which Eleonora Duse displayed her great powers as an actress. It is a drama of swift action and intense emotion; of passion, betrayal, and retribution. Much has been made of the role played by the 'book' in contributing to the success of the opera. It is a first-rate libretto -- one of the best ever put forth. It inspired the composer to what so far has remained his only significant achievement. But only in that respect is it responsible for the success of 'Cavalleria Rusticana' as an opera. The hot blood of the story courses through the music of Mascagni, who in his score also has quieter passages, that make the cries of passion the more poignant. Like practically every enduring success, that of 'Cavalleria Rusticana' rests upon merit. From beginning to end it is an inspiration. In it, in 1890, Mascagni at the age of twenty-one, 'found himself,' and ever since has been trying, unsuccessfully, to find himself again.
The prelude contains three passages of significance in the development of the story. The first of these is the phrase of the despairing Santuzza, in which she cries out to Turiddu that, despite his betrayal and desertion of her, she still loves and pardons him. The second is the melody of the duet between Santuzza and Turiddu, in which she implores him to remain with her and not to follow Lola into the church. The third is the air in Sicilian style, the 'Siciliano,' which, as part of the prelude, Turridu sings behind the curtain, in the manner of a serenade to Lola, 'O Lola, bianca come fior di spino' (O Lola, fair as a smiling flower).
With the end of the 'Siciliano' the curtain rises. It discloses a public square in a Sicilian village. On one side, in the background, is a church, on the other Mamma Lucia’s wineship and dwelling. It is Easter morning. Peasants, men, women, and children cross or move about the stage. The church bells ring, the church doors swing open, people enter. A chorus, in which, mingled with gladness over the mild beauty of the day, there also is the lilt of religious ecstasy, follows. Like a refrain the women voice and repeat 'Gli aranci olezzano sui verdi margini' (Sweet is the air with the blossoms of oranges). They intone 'La Virgine serena allietasi del Salvator' (The Holy Mother mild, in ecstasy fondles the child), and sing of 'Tempo e si momori,' etc. (Murmurs of tender song tell of a joyful world). The men, meanwhile, pay a tribute to the industry and charm of woman. Those who have not entered the church, go off singing. Their voices die away in the distance.

Santuzza, sad of mien, approaches Mamma Lucia’s house, just as her false lover’s mother comes out. There is a brief colloquy between the two women. Santuzza asks for Turiddu. His mother answers that he has gone to Francofonte to fetch some wine. Santuzza tells her that he was seen during the night in the village. The girl’s evident distress touches Mamma Lucia. She bids her enter the house.
'I may not step across your threshold,' exclaim Santuzza. 'I cannot pass it, I, most unhappy outcast! Excommunicated!'
Mamma Lucia may have her suspicions of Santuzza’s plight. 'What of my son?' she asks. 'What have you to tell me?'
But at that moment the cracking of a whip and the jingling of bells are heard from off stage. Alfio, the teamster, comes upon the scene. He is accompanied by the villagers. Cheerfully he sings the praises of a teamster’s life, also of Lola's, his wife’s beauty. The villagers join him in chorus. 'I1 cavallo scalpita' (Gayly moves the tramping horse).
Alfio asks Mamma Lucia if she still has on hand some of her fine old wine. She tells him it has given out. Turiddu has gone away to buy a fresh supply of it.
'No,' says Alfio. 'He is here. I saw him this morning standing not far from my cottage.'
Mamma Lucia is about to express great surprise. Santuzza is quick to check her.
Alfio goes his way. A choir in the church intones the 'Regina Coeli.' The people in the square join in the 'Allelujas.' Then they kneel and, led by Santuzza’s voice, sing the Resurrection hymn, 'Innegiamo, il Signor non e morto' (Let us sing of the Lord now victorious). The 'Allelujas' resound in the church, which all, save Mamma Lucia and Santuzza, enter.
Mamma Lucia asks the girl why she signaled her to remain silent when Alfio spoke of Turiddu’s presence in the village. 'Voi lo sapete' (Now you shall know), exclaims Santuzza, and in one of the most impassioned numbers of the score, pours into the ears of her lover’s mother the story of her betrayal. Before Turiddu left to serve his time in the army, he and Lola were in love with each other. But, tiring of awaiting his return, the fickle Lola married Alfio. Turiddu, after he had come back, made love to Santuzza and betrayed her now, lured by Lola, he has taken advantage of Alfio’s frequent absences, and has gone back to his first love. Mamma Lucia pities the girl, who begs that she go into church and pray for her.
Turiddu comes, a handsome fellow. Santuzza upbraids him for pretending to have gone away, when instead he has surreptitiously been visiting Lola. It is a scene of vehemence. But when Turiddu intimates that his life would be in danger were Alfio to know of his visits to Lola, the girl is terrified. 'Battimi, insultami, t’amo e perdono' (Beat me, insult me, I still love and forgive you).
Such is her mood -- despairing, yet relenting. But Lola’s voice is heard off stage. Her song is carefree, a key to her character, which is fickle and selfish, with a touch of the cruel. 'Fior di giaggiolo' (Bright flower, so glowing) runs her song. Heard off stage, it yet conveys in its melody, its pauses, and inflections, a quick sketch in music of the heartless coquette, who, to gratify a whim, has stolen Turiddu from Santuzza. She mocks the girl, then enters the church. Only a few minutes has she been on the stage, but Mascagni has let us know all about her.
A highly dramatic scene, one of the most impassioned outbursts of the score, occurs at this point. Turiddu turns to follow Lola into the church. Santuzza begs him to stay. 'No, no, Turiddu, rimani, rimani, ancora-Abbandonarmi dunque tu vuoi?' (No, no, Turiddu! Remain with me now and forever! Love me again! How can you forsake me?).

A highly dramatic phrases, already heard in prelude, occurs at 'La tua Santuzza piange t’implora (Lo! here thy Santuzza, weeping, implores thee).
Turiddu repulses her. She clings to him. He loosens her hold and casts her from to the ground. When she rises, he has followed Lola into the church.
But the avenger is nigh. Before Santuzza has time to think, Alfio comes upon the scene. He is looking for Lola. To him in the fewest possible words, and in the white voice of suppressed passion, Santuzza tells him that his wife has been unfaithfully with Turiddu. In the brevity of its recitatives, the tense summing up in melody of each dramatic situation as it develops in the inexorably swift unfolding of the tragic story, lies the strength of 'Cavalleria Rusticana.'

Santuzza and Alfio leave. The square is empty. But the action goes on in the orchestra. For the intermezzo -- the famous intermezzo -- which follows, recapitulates, in its forty-eight bars, what has gone before, and foreshadows the tragedy that is impending. There is no restating here of leading motives. The effect is accomplished by means of terse, vibrant melodic progression. It is melody and yet it is drama. Therein lies its merit. For no piece of serious music can achieve the world-wide popularity of this intermezzo and not possess merit.

Mr. Krehbiel, in A Second Book of Operas, gives an instance of its unexampled appeal to the multitude. A burlesque on this opera was staged in Vienna. The author of the burlesque thought it would be a great joke to have the intermezzo played on a hand-organ. Up to that point the audience had been hilarious. But with the first wheezy tone of the grinder the people settled down to silent attention, and, when the end came, burst into applause. Even the hand-organ could not rob the intermezzo of its charm for the public!
What is to follow in the opera is quickly accomplished. The people come out of church. Turiddu, in high spirits, because he is with Lola and because Santuzza no longer is hanging around to reproach him, invites his friends over to his mother’s wineshop. Their glasses are filled. Turiddu dashes off a drinking song, 'Viva, I vivo spumeggiante' (Hail! The ruby wine now flowing).
Here is the theme of this song:
[Music excerpt]
Alfio joins them. Turiddu offers him wine. He refuses it. The women leave, taking Lola with them. In a brief exchange of words Alfio gives the challenge. In Sicilian fashion the two men embrace, and Turiddu, in token of acceptance, bites Alfio’s ear. Alfio goes off in the direction of the place where they are to test their skill with the stiletto.
Turiddu calls for Mamma Lucia. He is going away, he tells her. At home the wine cup passes too freely. He must leave. If he should not come back she must be like a kindly mother to Santuzza -- 'Santa, whom I have promised to lead to the altar.'
'Un bacio, mamma! Un alto bacio! -- Addio!' (One kiss, one kiss, my mother. And yet another. Farewell!)
He goes. Mamma Lucia wanders aimlessly to the back of the stage. She is weeping. Santuzza comes on, throws her arms around the poor woman’s neck. People crowd upon the scene. All is suppressed excitement. There is a murmur of distant voices. A woman is heard calling from afar: 'They have murdered neighbour Turiddu!'
Several women enter hastily. One of them, the one whose voice was heard in the distance, repeats, but now in a shriek, 'Hammo ammazzato compre compare Turiddu!'- (They have murdered neighbour Turiddu!).
Santuzza falls in a swoon. The fainting form of Mamma Lucia is supported by some of the women.
'Cala rapidamente la tela' (The curtain falls rapidly).
A tragedy of Sicily, hot in the blood, is over.
When 'Cavalleria Rusticana' was produced, no Italian opera had achieved such a triumph since 'Aida' -- a period to nearly twenty years. It was hoped that Mascagni would prove to be Verdi’s successor, a hope which, needless to say, has not been fulfilled.
To 'Cavalleria Rusticana,' however, we owe the succession of short operas, usually founded on debased and sordid material, in which other composers have paid Mascagni the doubtful compliments of imitation in hopes of achieving similar success. Of all these, 'Pagliacci,' by Leoncavallo, is the only one that has shared the vogue of the Mascagni opera. The two make a remarkably effective double bill.