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Cavalliera Rusticana

by Pietro Mascagni


[This synopsis, like my others, is very, very brief. The reason is that I find the normal programme note much too long, and needlessly detailed and complicated. What I want is more of an overview. If I’ve read an overview – a sort of synopsis of a synopsis – I find that, particularly with the help of surtitles, there is then absolutely no need for a blow-by-blow description of the plot.]


Cavalliera Rusticana is the story of a Sicilian soldier, returning to his village, who makes love to two women, one of whom is married. He is killed in revenge by her husband.


The soldier, Turridu, was engaged to Lola before he left for the army, but Lola naughtily ran off with, and married, Alfio. On Turridu’s return, he took up with Santuzza. When the opera starts, Turridu has switched his affections back to the flighty Lola. Santuzza tries to win him back. But he refuses to be tied down and turns to Lola.


Santuzza tells Alfio that his wife has betrayed him. Alfio challenges Turridu. Off stage, they fight and Turridu is killed.


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