- Pietro Mascagni. Melodramma in one act. 1889.
- Libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci, after the play and story by Giovanni Verga.
- First performance at the Teatro Costanzi, Rome, on 17th May 1890.
|Santuzza, a peasant girl ||soprano|
|Turiddu, a young soldier ||tenor|
|Alfio, the village teamster ||baritone|
|Lola, his wife ||mezzo-soprano|
|Mamma Lucia, mother of Turiddu ||contralto|
In a Sicilian village it is Easter Sunday. Santuzza's former lover Turiddu is in love with Lola,
Alfio's wife. Santuzza seeks revenge by telling Alfio of Lola's unfaithfulness and he kills Turiddu
in a fight, after the latter has left Santuzza in the charge of his mother.
An example of realism ( verismo ), Mascagni's opera is a concentrated study of love and jealousy,
unified in its music and offering a strong contrast between normal village life, with its church
celebration of Easter, and the strong feelings of the principal characters, a contrast that has its
counterpart in other operas, not least in Britten's Peter Grimes. Popular excerpts include the tenor
O Lola, Santuzza's Voi lo sapete (You know it), the central instrumental Intermezzo, the drinking-song
Viva il vino (Long live wine) and Turiddu's poignant Mamma, quel vino è generoso (Mother,
this wine is generous). Cavalleria rusticana is often coupled in performance with Leoncavallo’s