Luisi Leads 'Cavalleria Rusticana' and 'Pagliacci'

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Saturday, February 06, 2016

Alexey Lavrov and Barbara Frittoli star in 'Pagliacci.' Alexey Lavrov and Barbara Frittoli star in 'Pagliacci.' (Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera)

Tune in at 1 pm Saturday for the classic pairing of two one-act masterpieces: Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci. The Met's principal conductor, Fabio Luisi, conducts this 2014-15 production by Sir David McVicar. 

Mezzo-soprano Violeta Urmana stars as the jealous Santuzza, spurned by her former lover, Turiddu, who will be sung by tenor Yonghoon Lee, in the first half of the bill, Cavalleria Rusticana. Ambrogio Maestri rounds out the cast as Alfio, the cuckolded husband of the object of Turiddu's affection.

Themes of love and vengeance continue in Pagliacci, the second half of the program. Tenor Marco Berti takes on the role of the ill-fated clown, Canio, who discovers an illicit love affair carried on by his wife Nedda, soprano Barbara Frittoli. Baritone George Gagnidze plays the role of the meddling Tonio, who narrates this tragic tale.


Conductor: Fabio Luisi

Cavalleria Rusticana
Santuzza: Violetta Urmana
Turiddu: Yonghoon Lee
Alfio: Ambrogio Maestri

Canio: Marco Berti
Nedda: Barbara Frittoli
Tonio: George Gagnidze 
Silvio: Alexey Lavrov


Comments [16]

Concetta Nardone from Nassau

CBC: I used to have a lp of gigli in Pagliacci from a german firm and the title was Die Berjazzo(?) do not know what happened to it.
Turned off the radio and only listened to some of today's broadcasts.

Feb. 06 2016 04:15 PM
Steve from Morristown, NJ

I agree with earlier comments about past singers in these roles. The Met Pagliacci broadcast of 1934 with Tibbett and Martinelli was truly astonishing. Too bad we cannot go back in time and hear more performances like this. Thank god for historic Met broadcast cds! Two other great live broadcast Cavallerias are 1963 La Scala with Corelli and Simionato and 1957 Boston with Tucker and Milanov. Another fabulous Tonio was Titta Ruffo. Today's singers clearly do not measure up to these standards

Feb. 06 2016 03:31 PM

The set for this Pag stinks & so does the baritone.

Feb. 06 2016 03:04 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Hvorostovky and Lucic are better. my opinion and Dimitri is also easy on the eyes. I know I am being shallow. As for Dmitri, he sings in perfect Neapolitan. I know about these things.
However, my favorite baritone will always be Leo Nucci, a fine singing actor and the best Macbeth and Barber there is.
Would have liked to hear Alagna as Canio today but he is replacing the ailing Kaufmann.

Feb. 06 2016 02:39 PM

George Gagnidze's an international voice, a great baritone, always on pitch and a very convincing actor. Who's honestly better than him singing today? Don't say Hvorostovsky or Lucic please.

Feb. 06 2016 01:29 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Alfio not so great either. Heavy unclear voice. I've heard better.

Feb. 06 2016 01:28 PM
Ted Cerame from Perris, CA

Has the Met of yore, the grand celebrated, “House,” the greatest Opera Company in the world, the place where true Opera lovers could go and be uplifted by great Art and, for a spell, leave the common denominator of de-evolved contemporary society where it belongs; has our beloved, “House,” become itself sucked down below the highest of standards?

Feb. 06 2016 01:18 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

@Ted: yes, the trashing of our culture. I remember when NBC was owned by the Sarnoffs. they gave us the NBC Symphony, fine programming, etc. Before NBC acquired Bravo, it offered great films, concerts, etc. Now we get Real Housewives, etc. yeah, people watch these "realty" shows.
I am not a prude.

Feb. 06 2016 01:15 PM
Ted Cerame from Perris, CA

Has the Met of yore, the grand celebrated, “House,” the greatest Opera Company in the world, the place where true Opera lovers could go and be uplifted by great Art and, for a spell, leave the common denominator of de-evolved contemporary society where it belongs in the dirty trash; has our beloved, “House,” have become itself sucked down by unthinking abandonment of classical achievements by classical intellects just as the norm has fallen?
Reminds us of “Mozart in the Jungle.” It won two golden awards. To
even associate the name of the musical mind that had created the purist most beautiful music ever with the utter decadent show is appalling. There, I said it.

Feb. 06 2016 12:55 PM

And who can forget the DelMonaco b'cast. THAT WAS SINGING AND ACTING !!!

Feb. 06 2016 12:49 PM

CBC I couldn't agree with you more about the baritone. No finesse, he's a brute. I have 3 Pags with Tibbett & wow & then there was Warren & MacNeil. This is the best the Met can do? I won't even comment on the "tenor".

Feb. 06 2016 12:47 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

@Uncle Charlie:
There is a shortage of tenors. As for Gagnidze, there is no shortage of
baritones. why does he keep getting gigs. I was poisoned forever by his
portrayal of Scarpia. Singing not great and a real thuggie look to him.

Feb. 06 2016 12:42 PM

how this 3rd rate tenor Marco Berti gets another broadcast after his disastrous Calaf of 2 weeks ago is beyond comprehension. He's always flat and off pitch 100% of the time. As for "slam, bam, thank you ma'am" when people start seeing dirt in everything, it's usually their minds that are trashed, not the staging. I've seen Carmen, Pearl Fishers and Pagliacci and didn't notice anything pornographic. I was a bit bothered however by the graphic slashing of Nedda's and Silvio's throats, but that's America for you, sex is dirty but blood and murder on stage and screen tolerated, even celebrated.

Feb. 06 2016 12:05 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

The casting for the two doesn't excite or interest me at all and what's passing for staging and costuming even less that listeners needn't be bothered by. For plenty of thrills as well as vocal mastery, in addition to the 1940 Gigli,Bruna Rasa, Bechi, composer-conducted "Cavalleria rusticana", I'd add the di Stefano, Petrella, Guelfi, Votto recording of the La Scala performance, 1955 and the Bjoerling, Tebaldi, Bastianni, Erede recording with the Florence May Festival forces circa 1958 (I think), in which Bjoerling sings the Siciliana in Sicilian. There are also plenty of thrills in the Corelli,Bumbry, Bernstein performance at the Met (though Bernstein's tempi are intentionally as sluggish as Mascagni's recording that he listened to. For "I Pagliacci", in first place I place the Met performance dating from 1934 with Martinelli (who sings "Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto" astoundingly in one breath!) with Mario, Tibbett and Bellezza conducting, the 1907 Leoncavallo-directed "I Pagliacci" with Paoli, Hughet and Badini, followed by the recordings by del Monaco and again by Gigli, Bjoerling and di Stefano. I've always thought verismo started in 1975 with "Carmen" and in 1876 with "La Gioconda": all the requirements are there in my opinion, but the 1890 and 1892 competitions sponsored by the publisher Sogzogno gave birth to the two most celebrated double- bill operas in history.

Feb. 06 2016 09:09 AM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Agree with DD.
Too much trashing in these updates.
Early in Jussi Bjoerling's career, he had trouble with the Sicilian dialect for the opening aria and sung it in Italian. I am sure it was still wonderful.

CBC: Hope you are well.
I have the L.P. with Gigli when it was issued for the 50 anniversary
of Cav with Mascagni conducting.
Also own Bjoerling, Tebaldi c.d.

Feb. 06 2016 07:13 AM

OK, I'm not a prude. But does every opera director have to stage a "slam, bam, thank you ma'am" scene? ^^^ see photo, above ^^^ Carmen (last season) had one; Pearl Fishers (this season) had one—verismo is understood, but it's NOT real. Enough is enough.

With both Carmen and Pearl Fishers, it looked as though no one was satisfied—was that the intent?


Feb. 06 2016 01:44 AM

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