I love Cavalleria Rusticana, especially for the sublime music. I did find the story initially weak, compared to its partner Pagliacci, but I don't think that now. I do think Pagliacci has the more dramatic story, but Cavalleria has so much heart and poignancy to it particularly during Mama Quel Vino Generoso and the scene between Santuzza and Mama Lucia after the Easter Hymn.
This is a beautiful Cavalleria, if not quite my favourite. When it comes to films/ productions I prefer the 1970 and 1982 Zeffirelli versions, especially Zeffirelli's though Fiorenza Cossotto is my favourite Santuzza. I loved the costumes and sets, they're not as lavish as the other versions I mentioned but they do look very beautiful. The sound is mostly good as is the video directing.
The orchestra get the emotional crux of the score just right especially for the Easter Hymn, Intermezzo and Mama Quel Vino Generoso, incidentally the opera's most famous moments, though the scene between Santuzza and Alfio is pretty stormy. The chorus are well balanced and animated, their opening chorus is sublime and Brindisi exciting.
The performances are great. Shirley Verrett as Santuzza is very impassioned and moving, and Ettore Nova is a strong Alfio. Turridu is wonderfully sung and dashing, Mama Lucia is very poignant in her scene(s) with Santuzza and Lola is appropriately sexy and beautiful.
All in all, a Cavalleria of beauty. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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