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Il Tabarro / Cavalleria Rusticana

For his fourth season as Artistic Director and Conductor of Washington Concert Opera, Antony Walker has chosen three Italian operas that span a period of over a hundred years and differ greatly in style and content. Puccini's Il Tabarro and Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana will comprise our double bill of verismo operas in the fall, and we will present the D.C. premiere of Tancredi, Rossini's outstanding early opera seria, in the spring.

Puccini's Il Tabarro is an intense, dark, and brooding work set on a barge on the Seine around the time of World War I. It depicts the destructive rage of barge owner Michele when he suspects his much younger wife, the beautiful Giorgetta, of taking a lover, a member of his crew. The opera combines the lyric beauty of young love with a new dark tone -- the quiet desperation of early 20th century working class France. Il Tabarro was the opening one-act opera of Puccini's Trittico which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in December 1918 to the acclaim of a public excited by his foray into new territory.

Cavalleria Rusticana is set in Sicily and is a remarkable work of passion and betrayal. Santuzza, jilted by the jaunty Turiddu, pours forth her anguish in one of opera's most searing and heartbreaking roles. In accordance with implacable Sicilian village justice, Turiddu must pay with his life for his affair with Lola, vengeance meted out by Lola's wronged husband, Alfio. Some say that verismo was born with this opera, while others argue that its many lyrical passages, the Easter calm between the outbursts of passion, make it a closer kin to the bel canto tradition. What is indisputable is that Cavalleria Rustica is Mascagni's masterpiece and his first and only work of genius.

Added by cgraci on August 13, 2005

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