Guide to "Cavalleria rusticana" opera costume paintings C0472
Published by George Mason University Libraries
"Cavalleria rusticana," translated from the Italian to "rustic chivalry," is an 1890 opera by Pietro Mascagni. The catalyst of the "verismo" opera trend, "Cavalleria rusticana" was hailed for its music, passionate and realistic plot, and the punch it packed as a short opera, clocking in around 75 minutes (compared to a typical opera's 2.5-3 hour runtime). "Cavalleria" tells the story of married Sicilian villagers Santuzza and Turiddu. Turridu has married Santuzza out of spite for being rejected by his former lover Lola, now married to Alfio. However, Turiddu begins an affair with Lola behind Santuzza's back, and in typical verismo fashion, passion and death ensue. Based on the story and play by Giovanni Verga, "Cavalleria" was an instant and massive success, and became Mascagni's most popular work, despite being his first. The composer himself was quoted as saying, "It is a pity I wrote Cavalleria first...for I was crowned before I became king" (ClassicFM.) "Cavalleria rusticana" is still performed today, traditionally in a double bill with the opera "Pagliacci" by Ruggero Leoncavallo, known as "Cav/Pag." It is perhaps best known for its "Intermezzo" music.
Six pen and watercolor paintings on paper of character and chorus member costume designs for the opera "Cavalleria rusticana." Featured are Turiddu, Coriste (female chorus member), two Coristi (male chorus members), Lola, and Alfio. Each painting has the title of the opera written in pen in the upper right hand corner, as well as the name of each character below the figure. Notably absent is the lead female character Santuzza. Due to the numberings on the upper left corners of the paintings, these seem to be a part of a larger series of paintings.
This is a single folder collection.
There are no access restrictions.
Public Domain. No known restrictions.
The Special Collections Research Center also holds the "La Navarraise" opera scene and costume lithographs, as well as many other materials on opera and the performing arts.
Mascagni, Pietro, 1863-1945. (Title of work: Cavalleria rusticana.)
"Cavalleria rusticana" opera costume paintings, C0472, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.
Purchased by Steve Gerber from J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians in May 2016.
Processing completed by Amanda Brent in March 2021. EAD markup completed by Amanda Brent in March 2021. This item was formerly part of the Performing Arts Manuscript Materials collection, C0215.
Bentley, Charlotte. "Beyond Verismo: Massenet's La Navarraise and 'Realism' in Fin-de-Siecle Paris." Journal of the Royal Musical Association 144, no. 1 (2019): 29-54.
Cantoni, L. and Schwarm, Betsy. "Cavalleria rusticana." Encyclopaedia Britannica. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Cavalleria-rusticana-opera-by-Mascagni.
"The Story Behind Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana." Classic FM. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.classicfm.com/composers/mascagni/guides/story-behind-mascagnis-cavalleria-rusticana/.
"Synopsis: Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci." The Metropolitan Opera. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.metopera.org/user-information/synopses-archive/cav-pag.