Upper Arlington Library’s Summer Opera Film Series Starts Sunday

Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945) a one work composer, but what a work: "Cavalleria rusticana!"(Photo: Bettman Archive)
Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945) a one work composer, but what a work: "Cavalleria rusticana!"(Photo: Bettman Archive)

This Sunday, June 12 at 2 p.m. I’ll be presenting the 1978 Metropolitan Opera production of Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana, with Placido Domingo, James Levine and the late, sensational Tatiana Troyanos as part of the Upper Arlington Public Library’s Summer Opera Film Series (map and details).

It’s a treat to see and hear the young Domingo. Tatiana Troyanos died in 1993. If you don’t know her work, don’t miss this performance. She will tear your heart out.

The sets and costumes are by Franco Zeffirelli, who staged the production. Zeffirelli was a master of the “more is more” school of operatic stage craft. There’s no minimalism here. This is good ol’ get in there and fight Italian opera.

In short: Boy jilts girl. Girl is pregnant. Boy runs after another girl. This girl is married. Husband kills boy. End of story.

Cavalleria rusticana was fist performed in 1890. The young Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945) entered this, his first opera, into a competition sponsored by the Sanzogno publishing company. Mascagni and his bloodthirsty opera won.

Pietro Mascagni wrote many more operas but never duplicated the success of Cavalleria. There’s a lot more to say about this brief, powerful opera. Come to the Upper Arlington Library (map) this Sunday at 2!

Future dates of the UAPL Summer Opera Film Series (all are Sunday at 2 p.m.):

  • July 10: Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci with Placido Domingo, Teresa Stratas and James Levine
  • August 7: Federico Moreno Torroba’s Luisa Fernanda with Alfredo Kraus and Maria Bayo
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