Sheffield-based company Opera on Location is set to present Verismo, a new interpretation of Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana (Rustic Chivalry, 1890) and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (Clowns, 1892). These two one-act operas are almost always performed as a double-bill, and affectionately known as ‘Cav and Pag’.
In this new version, Opera on Location is transformed into the Pagliacci theatre troupe. The troupe is in its final preparations for an upcoming production of Cavalleria rusticana. However, during the first run-through of the new production, the cast allows their personal feelings to take control.
The lines between theatre and reality, truth and fiction, become blurred as love, anger and jealousy overwhelm the players.
In Leoncavallo’s – who also wrote the libretto – Pagliacci, Canio, an actor and leader of a commedia dell’arte theatrical company, murders his wife Nedda and her lover Silvio on stage during a performance. In Mascagni’s Cavalleria – with words by Italian librettists Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci – young soldier Turiddu is in love with Lola, but she has married Alfio while he was away in the army. On his return, the pair start an affair. Alfio finds out and swears revenge.
In this new production, Canio and Nedda Caruso, of the Pagliacci troupe, star as Cavalleria’s tragic lovers in this play within the play. It is set on the homefront of World War II.
Performances take place at Sheffield University Drama Studio at 7.30pm on 25-27 August. Tickets are on sale now and cost £21. The production marks Opera on Location’s return to indoor performance following the various Covid-19-related restrictions during the past two years. As with all Opera on Location productions, Verismo is sung in English.
Leoncavallo composed Pagliacci as a response to Cavalleria rusticana. Together, the two short operas laid the foundations for verismo – Italian for realism – a post-Romantic operatic style that sought to present a more realistic view of the world. It was related to the international literary movement known as naturalism. It took as its subject the real-life actions of people, rather than mythology or the actions of gods.
Opera on Location formed in 2013 and gained charitable status in June 2020. The company’s aim is to produce innovatively staged, high-quality and affordable opera for Sheffield and South Yorkshire. Its artistic directors are Kathryn Gasic and Gareth Lloyd. All productions are sung in English, with new, modern and relevant translations.
Sheffield-based company Opera on Location is set to present Verismo, a new version of Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci.