Daniel Scofield joins the Prague state opera in their new production of Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci
Daniel Scofield will join the Prague State Opera in their new production of Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci where he will portray Alfio/Tonio in a production directed by Ondřej Havelka and conducted by Andriy Yurkevych.
For over 120 years, Pagliacci (Clowns) and Cavalleria rusticana (Rustic Chivalry), the most famous operas of Italian verismo, a genre that brought to the stage contemporary characters, portraying the life of country folk and low social classes, have been extremely popular among audiences all over the world as magnificent dramatic spectacles featuring impressive chorus scenes, prepossessing arias and ensembles, as well as Mascagni’s beautiful symphonic intermezzo. When, in 1888, the Italian music publisher Edoardo Sonzogno announced a competition for young composers to submit a one-act opera, he could not have had the slightest inkling that the victorious work would become an immortal hit. The 25-year-old Pietro Mascagni sent to the jury his brand-new piece Cavalleria rusticana. The premiere of the opera, in 1890 in Rome, was a resounding success, which would secure him global fame. Ruggero Leoncavallo, six years older than Mascagni, wrote his debut opera, Pagliacci, in the verismo spirit too. Its premiere, in 1892 in Milan, earned the virtually unknown composer great acclaim. In 1893, Rome saw Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci performed as a double bill, which has ever since been customary worldwide. Pagliacci depicts the tragedy of Canio, an ageing principal of a travelling troupe who, driven out of his mind with jealousy, kills his unfaithful young wife Nedda and her lover on stage during a performance. In Cavalleria rusticana, the frivolous Lola begins an adulterous affair with her former lover Turridu, who, in line with the age-long Sicilian vendetta tradition, is murdered by Lola’s husband. The two operas end identically – with a homicide motivated by jealousy. The new production pairing the two operatic gems has been undertaken by Ondřej Havelka, a versatile artist, renowned as a stage director, actor, singer and musician alike.
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