Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Cavalleria rusticana
PERFORMER: Dennis O’Neill, Nelly Miricioiu, Phillip Joll, Diana Montague, Elizabeth Bainbridge; Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, LPO/David Parry
The Rome premiere in 1890 of this opera made 26-year-old Mascagni famous overnight. Set in a Sicilian village, it is a taut piece of melodrama: within one hour, a woman causes the death of the man who has betrayed her while the Easter Mass is being celebrated in the village church.


The Chandos series of operas sung in English continues with this new recording. Edmund Tracey’s translation is acceptable and it is well-articulated by the cast especially by Nelly Miricioiu, the only non-native English speaker. Although she occasionally sounds a trifle matronly for Santuzza, she brings an impressive dramatic thrust to the role. Dennis O’Neill is a first-rate Turiddu, Phillip Joll an adequate Alfio and the veteran Elizabeth Bainbridge characterises Mamma Lucia vigorously. The conductor, David Parry, chooses convincing tempos and gives firm support to the singers. Charles Osborne