Met double at Carib 5 tomorrow
Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, the Met Opera's new production gala, will be shown Live in HD at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow in the Carib 5.
Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Ruggero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, opera's most enduring tragic double bill, returns in an evocative new production. Sir David McVicar (Giulio Cesare, Maria Stuarda, Il Trovatore) places the verismo action across two time periods, but in the same Sicilian setting.
Marcelo Alvarez rises to the challenge of playing the dual tenor roles of Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana and Canio in Pagliacci. Rae Smith (War Horse) has designed the moodily atmospheric 1900 village square setting of Cavalleria Rusticana, which transforms to a 1948 truck stop for the doomed vaudeville troupe of Pagliacci.
Eva-Maria Westbroek (Cav) and Patricia Racette (Pag) are the unlucky heroines, while George Gagnidze sings both Alfio and Tonio. The Met's principal conductor, Fabio Luisi, is on the podium.
The critics have complimented the production.
"This double bill certainly has the right maestro on the podium: Fabio Luisi, the Met's principal conductor. He draws clarity, colour and vigour from the inspired Met orchestra in both works. Mr Alvarez delivers the most impassioned and commanding singing I have heard from him at the Met ... . Eva-Maria Westbroek brings vocal charisma and wrenching vulnerability to Santuzza ... .
Patricia Racette as Nedda sang with beguiling feistiness, sizable sound and great character."
New York Times
"David McVicar's new Met production ... provides a splendid, subtly contemporary view of the two verismo chestnuts ... meticulously detailed directing ... . The chorus was nuanced and the orchestra sounded superb under Fabio Luisi ... . [The play-within-the-play] was hilariously staged with the aid of a vaudeville consultant ... and three adept clowns."
In Cavalleria Rusticana, Easter dawns in a Sicilian village. Turiddu is heard in the distance singing about Lola, wife of the prosperous carter Alfio (O Lola, ch'ai di latti la cammisa).
Townsfolk and fieldworkers stroll across the piazza. Santuzza, a peasant girl, approaches Mamma Lucia's tavern looking for her son, Turiddu. The old woman says he is away buying wine.
Alfio arrives with his friends, boasting of his horse and of his new wife, Lola ("Il cavallo scalpita"). He leaves, as the villagers follow a procession to mass. Santuzza, who is unwilling to enter the church, stays behind to tell Mamma Lucia that Turiddu has abandoned her for his former lover, Lola ("Voi lo sapete").
After the old woman has left for mass, Santuzza confronts Turiddu (Duet: Tu qui, Santuzza?). Lola walks by, infuriating Santuzza with her arrogant behaviour, then enters the church. Santuzza resumes her pleading with Turiddu, but he refuses to listen.
Pushing her to the ground, he runs into the church. Santuzza curses him.
When Alfio arrives, Santuzza reveals that his wife has been cheating on him. Alfio swears to get even and rushes off, followed by the now conscience-stricken Santuzza.
In the prologue to Pagliacci, Tonio the clown steps before the curtain to announce that what the audience is about to see is a true story, and that even actors and clowns have the same joys and sorrows as other people ("Si puo?").
Act I begins on the outskirts of a village. A crowd gathers around a small theatrical company that has just arrived. Canio, the middle-aged head of the troupe, describes the night's offerings ("Un grande spettacolo").
When one of the villagers suggests that Tonio is secretly courting Canio's young wife, Nedda, Canio warns them all and explains that he will tolerate no flirting offstage ("Un tal gioco"). Vesper bells call the women to church and the men to the tavern, leaving Nedda alone.
Disturbed by her husband's jealousy, she looks up to the sky, envying the birds their freedom (Stridono lassu). Tonio appears and tries to force himself on her. She beats him back and he swears revenge.
In fact, Nedda does have a lover - Silvio, a young peasant, who appears and persuades her to run away with him after the evening's performance (Duet: E allor perche). Tonio overhears their conversation and hurries off to tell Canio. The jealous husband bursts in on the guilty pair, but Silvio manages to slip away before Canio can identify him.
Nedda, even when threatened with a knife, refuses to reveal Silvio's name. Beppe, another clown, restrains Canio, and Tonio advises him to wait until the evening's performance to catch Nedda's lover.
Alone, Canio bitterly reflects that he must play the clown while his heart is breaking ("Vesti la giubba").
The Met's Live in HD's award-winning series of live transmissions to cinemas around the world has expanded its worldwide distribution to more than 2,000 cinemas in 69 countries this season, the largest global audience the initiative has ever reached.
This will be the last live transmission in the Met's 2014-15 series. The encore performance of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci will be shown on Sunday, May 3, at Palace Cineplex and Palace Multiplex.
Tickets are on sale at participating cinemas box offices and via the web at www.palaceamusement.com, with a Palace Card.