Cavalleria dei pagliaccienglish

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Often represented in a double program, the stories of Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni and I Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo are very similar: two love triangles wich end in disaster and passional crime.

Composed for an organized contest by the publisher Edoardo Sonzogno in 1888, Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni, with libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci, based on a piece of Giovanni Verga, has been a success since its premiere in the Teatro Costanzi in Rome on May 17th, 1890. Being considered one of the most important verismo classic operas, on the date of the composer's death in 1945, this opera had already been performed more than 14,000 times in Italy alone.

Leoncavallo´s I Pagliacci with libretto by the composer himself, was premiered two years later, on May 21st, 1892, in the Teatro dal Verme in Milan. Composed after the success of Cavalleria, it has become another classic of Italian musical verismo and another public success. Originally titled Il pagliaccio (The Clown), its name was changed to plural by the requested of the bariton Victor Maurel (who was part of the first cast) to extend the drama of the piece and include his own role.

In this production, we will see a complete comunion of the two dramas: to the Italian village where Cavalleria Rusticana takes place, the touring company of the Clowns arrives (I Pagliacci) to represent his show. That is, the characters will share space, time, drama and actions.


Italy, a small town where people know each other well and nothing goes unnoticed. The days pass and nothing seems to alter the calm and tranquility, based on full respect for the traditions, the omnipresent religion and the hard and honest work in the field. But under the apparent calm, love, desire and passion has found as always the needed places to be born and to create fateful love triangles doomed by force to disaster and crime.

In this production we will see for the first time a complete union of the dramas of Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci. The concept is simple; to the Italian village where the first takes place, the itinerant company of clowns arrives to represent its show. Thus, the characters of both operas meet and interact with each other, creating dramatic situations never before seen on stage. Rarely the story jumps from one Opera to another, but the transitions are musical and dramaturgically perfect and imperceptible. Jealousy is a terrible beast, and we will see how the same story of forbidden loves is repeated by the company of clowns who arrive in town. But the farce is no longer so, and plastic knives are replaced by others made of sharps steel, and the blood spelled is not cold, but warm and dense. What happens on the small stage, becomes a real tragedy and will predict what will happen in the same town minutes later, a knife duel for a woman, where only one man will survive. The stories of love and jealousy are repeated and recognized among them, because we are what we are, human beings of flesh and bone, whether we are actors on a stage or seated spectators in the stalls section (patio). Where does the theater finish and life begins? Are they not the same thing?"

"Che cominci la commedia!"

Alfonso Romero Mora


  • Stage director: Alfonso Romero Mora
  • Costume: Gabriela Salaverri
  • Sets: David Rodríguez Garzón
  • Makeup: Clara Vecino
  • Lighting: Rodolfo Gómez


  • Santuzza: soprano
  • Turiddu: tenor
  • Alfio: baritone
  • Mamma Lucia: mezzo-soprano
  • Lola: mezzo-soprano
  • Canio: tenor
  • Nedda: soprano
  • Tonio: baritone
  • Silvio: baritone
  • Beppe: tenor

Chorus: 28 singers (estimated)

Extras: 10, 2 dancers y 3 jugglers


The performance begins with Pagliacci overture during which the interpreters of both operas (Pagliacci / Cavalleria) themselves are prepared to play theatrically. Tonio, dressed as the abstract character of the Prologue, speaks directly to the public and explain that the artists who will take part in the performance are mostly people of flesh and blood. Then, we pased to a small Italian village in the early twentieth century where, at night, Lola and Turiddu release their passion. He gives her a serenade , while the sun raises, while being observed by Santuzza with whom he has a relation. Alfio, Lola's husband, comes home and greets his wife. Santuzza in desperation, because of her husband Turiddu´s betrayal, falls asleep in front of the couple´s house , until she is awakened by the singing of peasants who are returning from work . She goes to Mamma Lucia´s bar, mother of Turiddu, to inquire about her son.The bar owner informs her that Turiddu has gone to Frankfurt for wine, but Santuzza knows that he has really spent the night with Lola.

The conversation is interrupted by the entrance of a itinerant troupe of clowns, announcing the presentation offered in the town square at 23.00. While members of the Company drink invited by the village men, in Mamma Lucia´s bar, Nedda, the main actress left alone beside the wagon, begins singing expressing her desire to be free and to escape from the itinerant life. Santuzza hides in a corner and listens to Nedda´s song, which represents the prototype antagonism of religious and fearful women. Alfio, a rich town carter, arrives in to the square and sings about the virtues of his work. The jealous Canio sees Alfio flirting with his girlfriend Nedda and takes her away from the scene, followed by the rest of the clowns. From inside the church, we can hear a religious song, and the chorus answers while entering the temple to celebrate Easter. Alone again, Santuzza explained Lucia that her son Turiddu betrays married Lola. The mother takes pity on her and goes into the church to pray for Santuzza, who considered her self excomulgated for having sex with Turiddu, without being married to him. Turiddu enters in the scene and is interrogated by Santuzza. He denies the accusations of having an affair with Lola, while she appears entering into the church. The two women discuss face to face their love for Turiddu, but even the married women also denies having sinned. Hurt and despised by Turiddu, Santuzza, in a fit of rage, tells Alfio of his wife's infidelity. Alfio swears revenge for the betrayal.


Tonio, a member of the troupe of clowns, observes in hiding how Nedda, whom is secretly in love, cleans her self near the wagon´s company. She discovers him and warns him with contempt that his love for her is impossible. Tonio, loosing his temper, attempts to rape her, but she rejects him by whiping him. Silvio, villager and Nedda´s lover, enters to the scene. He offers to take her out of the street life which she doesn´t like, but the actress knows that´s an impossible dream. As a revenge for Nedda´s scorn, Tonio brings Canio and make him to see Nedda and Silvio kissing, and discover the infidelity of his girlfriend. Silvio is able to scape from Canio´s attack, and demands Nedda to reveal the name of her lover. She doesn´t do it, and Tonio convinces Canio to wait for the afternoon´s performance, so that he´ll discover her lover among the audience. He remains alone on stage, and sings the famous aria 'Vesti la giubba' while he is observed by two children who have sneaked into her dressing room to greet the clown. His singing and his torn crying scare the little ones who are expelled violently by Canio from the dressing room. Seeing the children coming out of the dressing room, scared and frightned, he feels sorry and stops them. While the famous Cavalleria Rusticana intermezzo is going on and even if his heart is broken, Canio offers the kids a 'private performance' with his best jokes of mime in order to bring back the smile in the children´s face. Having ended the performance, the children come out of the dressing room very happy. Inmediatly after, we observe the people leaving the church after the religious service. Turiddu finds Lola in the square, and moved by his irresistible impulse, makes a toast in front of everybody in honor of love, in clear reference to the married Lola. Alfio arrives and challenges Turiddu with a razor duel as to clean his honor. At that moment, the representation starts with the Clowns and Turiddu is obblied to help his mother, serving the tables in the bar´s terrace bar where all the public is sitting ready for the comedy. Upon the small stage, Nedda dressed as Colombina , represents a farce of betrayed lovers and husbands. Canio enters dress as a clown and drunk with the intention of finding out the name of Nedda´s lover during the performance of the farce. The tension rises gradually to the point that Canio mortally stabs the comedian. Silvio comes out from the public to save his lover, and a that moment Canio takes advantage to kill him too. Canio, among the rest of the clowns, fleeing for the town for fear of the reprisals, while Turiddu horrified says farewell to his mother in order to confront Alfio with the knife. While Mamma Lucia asks Santuzza for explanations, screams of horror wich announce the death of Turiddu in the hands of Alfio are heard. Mamma Lucia falls to her knees mourning the death of her child and the horror that has hung over that peaceful town.

Alfonso Romero Mora