Enjoy twice the thrill with this double bill of the ever-popular Cavalleria rusticana and Rachmaninov’s rarely heard Aleko. In both gritty blood-soaked dramas, jealous love triangles plummet to violent ends.
Turiddù and Lola were once lovers; but when he left to join the army, Lola married another man. Although Turridù finds consolation in the arms of Santuzza, his obsessive passion for Lola still burns fiercely. Thus the stage is set for a tale of faithlessness, jealousy and violence, set in a rural community where the church maintains an iron grip on the souls of its people.
A celebrated overnight success in its day, Cavalleria rusticana spearheaded the verismo movement which demonstrated that ordinary people can have opera-sized emotions too. Mascagni displays a masterly control of pacing, conveying a taut, gritty drama through a succession of gorgeously lyrical melodies. With a score that includes the famous Easter Hymn and Intermezzo, Cavalleria rusticana remains for many the very essence of Italian opera.
‘…Sofulak creates a potent atmosphere that gives fresh impetus to the tragedy’
★★★★ — The Telegraph (2017)
Rachmaninov’s first opera is a story of emotion run riot. In the past, Aleko turned his back on the restrictions of conventional society and joined a marginalised community where he fell in love with a young woman, Zemfira. But her love for him has grown cold and she finds solace in the arms of a young lover. Driven on by the unforgiving code of honour he has inherited, Aleko exacts a bloody vengeance for this betrayal.
Composed when he was just 19 years old, Rachmaninov’s passionate score displays the rich orchestral palette familiar from his piano concertos and symphonies, as well as his unparalleled gift for melody – nowhere more so than in Aleko’s moving Cavatina. Karolina Sofulak’s new production shares the bill with Cavalleria rusticana, and is designed as a companion piece for Mascagni’s equally youthful masterpiece.
Cavalleria rusticana | Sung in Italian with English titles
Aleko | Sung in Russian with English titles
Running Time: Cavalleria rusticana | Approximately 1 hour 15 minutes
Aleko | 1 hour
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Audio Described performance and Touch Tour on Fri 22 March