Cavalleria Rusticana is a very special opera to me. Story-wise it isn't a favourite, but musically I just adore it especially for the Intermezzo, Easter Hymm, Mama Quel Vino Generoso and the scene between Santuzza and Alfio. And it has been special to me ever since performing in the chorus for four years ago aged 15, and that is an experience I shall never forget. This is not my favourite Cavalleria, that is either the Zeffirelli film or the production with Cossotto as Santuzza and Karajan conducting. That said, it is still excellent, with great authenticity in the chorus and lively and emotional conducting from Riccardo Muti. The costumes and sets are attractive, with interesting staging where the chorus for example go about their business without intruding too much with the main action. The cast are equally as good. Waltraud Meier is very passionate as Santuzza and Jose Cura gives a fine performance as Turridu. Paolo Gavanelli is a strong Alfio, Lucia is appropriately poignant and Lola sensual. All in all, excellent production. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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