By Ruggero Leoncavallo
By Pietro Mascagni
RNCM Studio Theatre, 2 October 2014
These two Italian operas, premiered in 1892 and 1890 respectively, are often performed together, and for good reason: in both a rogue love leads to conflict and violence.
Of the two, I Pagliacci has the more elaborate structure – a comedy featuring Pagliacci, Harlequin and Colombina appears within the opera proper – but both contain arias that pack a hefty emotional punch.
The performances were top-drawer all around, not least from Rochelle Hart (Nedda in I Pagliacci) and Laura Wolk-Lewanowicz (Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana). Live entertainment comes in many guises and the close-to, intimate setting of the RNCM Studio Theatre was used to great advantage. To be a mere matter of yards from these wonderful singers was a rare privilege. Miraculous to realise that that powerful music, well most of it, is all in the voice. No microphone necessary.
When the characters pray, notice that it is to the Virgin Mary that they address their prayers.
A joyful evening’s entertainment.
I Pagliacci and Cavalleria rusticana are showing again tonight and tomorrow evening, further details can be found here.