Cultural

Cavalleria rusticana – Pagliacci
Ambasciata d'Italia in Atene | AtHENS&EPiDaURUS FeSTIVaL |

Cavalleria rusticana
Pietro Mascagni
A one-act melodrama
Libretto: Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci, adapted from a play of the same name written by Giovanni Verga

Pagliacci

Ruggero Leoncavallo

Opera with prologue and two acts
Libretto: Ruggero Leoncavallo

The Greek National Opera raises the curtain for this year’s Athens Festival with two impressive operas from the Italian Verismo movement, Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci. Melodies packed with intensity, expressive harmonies and atmospheric orchestration of the music add colour to the closely-knit plot, with the characters’ emotions being portrayed in the most brute of manners. One can be sure of a thrilling spectacle thanks to the involvement of Graham Vick, one of the world’s leading opera directors. The sets and costumes for the production are by George Souglides, while Giuseppe di Iorio is in charge of lighting. The renowned, skilled soloists from Greece and abroad are supported by the ‘Rosarte’ Children’s Choir and the Orchestra and Choir of the G.N.O, directed by the highly experienced conductor Loukas Karytinos.

Cavalleria Rusticana (Rustic Chivalry)
Cavalleria Rusticana is Pietro Mascagni’s first complete opera, with a libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci, adapted from a play of the same name by Giovanni Verga. At its premiere in Rome in 1890 Mascagni was lauded by the audience but he never managed to repeat the immense success of this opera.

The plot unfolds at Easter time in rural Sicily. Turiddu, having returned from his military service, learns that his beloved Lola is now married to Alfio. To avenge himself on her, he finds comfort in the arms of Santuzza; however Lola secretly returns of Turiddu’s arms. Humbled, Santuzza reveals the truth to Alfio and he publicly insults Turiddu, blinded as he is by rage. It is at this point that the ritual of ‘rustic chivalry’ is played out. Turiddu challenges Alfio to a duel. Having bid his farewell to his mother, Lucia, he asks her to look after Santuzza and leaves. Within a few dramatic moments Turiddu has fallen dead, stabbed by Alfio The charming orchestral Intermezzo which divides this one-act opera into two halves is frequently played as a separate work for orchestra, and Turiddu’s melancholic melody at the start of the opera and the glorious anthem-like song to sparkling wine are definitely worth a citation!

Conductor Loukas Karytinos
Director Graham Vick
Set – Costume Designer George Souglides
Lighting Giuseppe di Iorio
Choirmaster Nikos Vassiliou

Santuzza Chariklia Mavropoulou (1, 3, 4, 5 / 6)
Lola Irini Karagianni (1,4 /6), Gogo Iliopoulou (3, 5 / 6)
Turiddu Rudy Park (1,4 /6), Angelo Simos (3, 5 / 6)
Alfio Dimitri Platanias (1,4 /6), Carlos Almaguer (3, 5 / 6)
Lucia Maria Vlaxopoulou (1, 3, 4, 5 / 6)

With the participation of the GNO Orchestra and Choir

Pagliacci
Passion, adultery, jealousy, honour and revenge are key aspects of both these works. Pagliacci is the first important work by Ruggero Leoncavallo, where he attempted to recreate the realistic atmosphere found in Cavalleria Rusticana. It is true that the technique and feel of Verismo style reached their pinnacle in this tragic tale of the head of travelling commedia dell’arte troupe. With the libretto also prepared by the composer, the opera was first staged in Milan in 1892 conducted by Toscanini, and its sheer success cast a shadow over every later venture undertaken by Leoncavallo.

After the prologue, a manifest to Verismo, the show starts with the troupe arriving in a village in Calabria. It is the 15th of August and everyone is overjoyed that the troupe will stage a performance that evening. Canio stars as Pagliaccio, who must make the audience laugh even though he has just learned that his wife, Nedda, has been unfaithful to him. The catalyst here is the hunch-backed Tonio, a member of the troupe, who has been riled by the beautiful girl for his love for her, and swears to have his revenge on her. During the performance by the troupe, the boundaries between reality and fiction begin to blur, as Canio can no longer stand acting out the role of the cuckold Pagliaccio on stage, having to act alongside his wife’s lover. Enraged by Colombina – Nedda’s refusal to reveal the identity of her lover, he rushes forward like a madman and stabs her. As she dies, she calls out Silvio’s name. He rushes onto the stage only for Canio to plunge his dagger into him. And so Pagliaccio recovers his lost honour and calls out to the audience, frozen in shock, “La commedia è finita!”

Conductor Loukas Karytinos
Director Graham Vick
Set – Costume Designer George Souglides
Lighting Giuseppe di Iorio
Choirmaster Nikos Vassiliou

Children’s Choirmaster Rosie Mastrosavva

Canio Stuart Neill (1, 3, 4, 5 / 6)
Nedda Elena Kelessidi (1, 3, 5 / 6), Celia Costea (4 / 6)
Tonio Dimitri Platanias (1 /6), Carlos Almaguer (3, 5 / 6)
Beppe Antonis Koroneos (1, 3, 5 / 6), Nikos Stefanou (4 / 6)
Silvio Dionysis Sourbis (1, 3, 4, 5 / 6)

With the participation of the GNO Orchestra and Choir
and the ROSARTE Children’s Choir

Ticket prices €100, €85, €60, €55, €45, €25
Children, students €15
Tickets online

Tickets online

Tickets on sale in advance
from the OLYMPIA THEATRE ticket booths, 59-61 Academias St., Athens
from 09:00 to 21:00 daily
Phone bookings 210 3662 100, 210 3612 461, 210 3643 725
Online bookings www.nationalopera.gr

and from the Athens Festival box office, 39 Panepistimiou St., Athens GR-10564
Monday to Friday 8.30–16.00, Saturday 9.00–14.30
Telephone bookings: 210 3272 000
Online booking: www.greekfestival.gr

1, 3, 4, 5 June 2011
Starts 21.00

Herodes Atticus Odeon

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