Opera North's Pagliacci & Cavalleria rusticana

Part of The Little Greats

An iconic Italian double-bill fuelled by fatal passion and filled with gorgeously lyrical melodies.
  • Venue: The Lyric Theatre

An Iconic Italian Double-Bill Fuelled By Fatal Passion And Filled With Gorgeously Lyrical Melodies.

Pagliacci | Leoncavallo 

In the thrilling curtain-raiser to the season, Leoncavallo carves a ‘bleeding slice of life’ out of the tale of a touring theatre troupe preparing for a show. Canio is eaten up with jealous suspicion of his wife, the leading lady. When he learns the truth of her faithlessness, the performance of the play is derailed by real life passion spun out of control, and the stage becomes the scene of a violent reckoning. Pagliacci is an operatic rollercoaster, hurtling towards a bloody climax that unfolds in front of the shocked on-stage audience. 

Strap in tight and get ready to career from laughter to horrified awe as comedy and tragedy collide amidst scintillating melodies. Pagliacci includes some of the most famous music ever written for Italian opera, including the heartbroken Canio’s ‘show must go on’ aria ‘Vesti la giubba’ and Tonio’s Prologue.

Additional information
Running time approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.
Language: Sung in Italian with English titles

'...ingenious...the staging has a kind of furious, naturalistic power...' ★★★★ — The Guardian
'It all works remarkably well... Peter Auty plays Canio with focussed, obsessive intensity... [Elin] Pritchard is a feisty lady and sings Nedda with beauty as well as conviction.' ★★★★★ — The Arts Desk 
'Richard Burkhard [Tonio] is grippingly sardonic...delivering the opening prologue and killer last line in English, directly to us.' ★★★★ — The Times

Cavalleria rusticana | Mascagni

Cavalleria rusticana tells the tale of a soldier who has returned from the army to find his lover has married another man. He consoles himself by seducing another girl, even though he is still consumed by his obsessive desire for his first love. This powder keg of passions is primed to ignite at Easter in the midst of a small community where the church maintains an iron grip on the souls of its people. 

Mascagni lavishes gorgeously lyrical melodies on a gritty drama of betrayal, jealousy and violent revenge. With a score that includes the famous Easter Hymn and Intermezzo, Cavalleria rusticana is thought by many to be the very essence of Italian opera.

Additional Information

Running time approximately 1 hour 15 minutes

Language:  Sung in Italian with English titles

Pre-Show Talk: Sat 18 November 6.15pm. Tickets must be booked in advance.

'...Sofulak creates a potent atmosphere that gives fresh impetus to the tragedy...the cast is fully committed.' ★★★★ The Telegraph 
'...this company's outstanding chorus have rarely sounded better...the Easter Hymn sounds sumptuous' ★★★★ The Arts Desk

Pagliacci: Trailer

Cavalleria rusticana: Trailer

Cast & Creative Team

Pagliacci | Leoncavallo


Nedda Elin Pritchard

Canio Peter Auty

Tonio Richard Burkhard

Peppe  Joseph Shovelton

Silvio Phillip Rhodes


Creative Team

Conductor TBA

Director Charles Edwards

Set Designer Charles Edwards

Costume Designer Gabrielle Dalton

Lighting Designer Charles Edwards

Cavalleria Rusticana | Mascagni

Santuzza Giselle Allen
Lola Katie Bray
Turiddù Jonathan Stoughton
Alfio Phillip Rhodes
Lucia Rosalind Plowright

Creative Team
Conductor Tobias Ringborg
Director Karolina Sofulak
Set Designer Charles Edwards
Costume Designer Gabrielle Dalton
Lighting Designer Charles Edwards