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A superb production by Giancarlo del Monaco, elegantly intertwining Mascagni’s and Leoncavallo’s two well-loved - and these days, virtually inseparable - operas, Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci.
These masterpieces brought new levels of realism into opera with their so-called verismo style, also adopted by Puccini.
Jesús López Cobos directs an outstanding cast with staging that contrasts a starkly black and white approach for Cavalleria with a colourful, almost Fellini-like style for Pagliacci - in which the tragedy of the clowns brings the reality of their play within a play home with an inescapable feeling of dread foreshadowing the emotive conclusion with immense feeling..
Comments from Jury members:
“Pagliacci much better than Cavalliera”
“I preferred Pagliacci for the staging and singers”
“La mise en scene de Cavalliera Rusticana était dramatique —interessante, mais oublions la parade Paques avec le Christe qui porte la croix. Cela appartient plutot à vendredi Saint! Pagliacci était excellent!”
“Prise de son et voix un peu loin…”
“The staging of Cavalliera was totally off and made no sense—not in sync with the libretto. Pagliacci was OK. The best was the last scene. The musical interpretation was great and was even better when you closed your eyes.”
“I was bored by Rusticana. Pagliacci was enthralling and passionate. Wonderful!”
“Pagliacci was tremendous! Full of life!”
“Both superb in their own way.”
“Overall, the contrast of presentation was so marked that whilst finding the whole enthralling, the starkness of CR seemed somewhat incongruous with IP. Nevertheless, each struck me as a magnificent rendering of the way the world repeats itself.”
“Loved Pagliacci! Cavalliera was a bit slow and depressing!”
“A delicious show”
“Didn’t see why the Prologue of Pagliacci came before Cavalliera. An unnecessary gimmick. The very stark contrast of the black & white Cavalliera with the colourful Pagliacci gave in interesting relief to the programme. Some very fine singing and beautifully sensitive orchestral playing.”
Singing / performance: B+
HDVD production: B+
Overall ranking: B
13 / 03 / 10
Mascagni / Leoncavallo
“Cav & Pag”