, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I do not find it real easy to write about classical music. I believe there is a wealth of knowledge out there from people very involved in it. You do not have to play an instrument or be a composer to understand how you benefit spiritually and emotionally from great music of all sorts.

Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945) was an Italian composer of Operas. His greatest success is, without a doubt, the opera in one act, from 1890, The Cavalleria Rusticana.

The album at the top of the post features the designs by Franco Zeffirelli  for the stage when the opera was performed in London at the Royal Opera in Covent Garden. The opera recording is from 1966.

Franco Zeffirelli is the first Italian ever to receive an Honorary Knighthood from the British Crown. Born in 1923 his career took him from being a movie maker and TV director to Opera stage designs and direction. He became a Senator in Italian politics. He became an assistant to Luchino Visconti, and was influenced by Vittorio de Sica. In short, Zeffirelli is one of the grand figures in Italian Culture. His films the Taming of the Screw and Romeo and Juliet are his best known. Now, back to the Opera and the recorded music.

The Opera has been recorded in full versions over a 100 times since the first recording in 1909 in Germany. The story is, in essence, a human drama, a love story set in 19th Century Sicily. The intermezzo is probably its best known piece, remembered by many movie goers in America as the opening music in the movie Raging Bull, and for the final part of The Godfather Part 3. About the Decca FFRR record itself here is the technical note:Go to this link for a good read on wiki about the Opera but also because you can listen to the recorded intermezzo and dream away! Literally!

An excellent reference site for opera music with sample information on the record can be found at this link.

Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni 1863-1945 performed in Italian

Conductor Silvio Varviso – 1966(STU)

Orchestra – Teatro dell’Opera di Roma

Chorus – Teatro dell’Opera di Roma

Santuzza – Elena Souliotis

Turiddu – Mario Del Monaco

Alfio – Tito Gobbi

Lola – Stefania Malagù

Lucia – Anna Di Stasio


Black Disc; – Decca MET 343-344 (+Souliotis recital) {2LPS} (1967)ª; Decca SET 343-344 (+Souliotis recital) {2LPS} (1967)ª; London A-4266 (+Souliotis recital) {2LPS} (1967)ª; London OSA-1266 (+Souliotis recital) {2LPS} (1967)ª; *Jugoton LPSU-DC-334-5

Compact Disc; – *Collectors Series IMPX 9018 {1CD}; Double Decca 452 179-2 (+Pagliacci) {2CDS} (1998)ª; Decca 476 7216 {1CD} (2005)ª

ª(year of issue or re-issue)

Recordings of Cavalleria rusticana by Pietro Mascagni 1863-1945 are surveyed in the following publications:-

High Fidelity November 1962 p.53; HARRIS p.64; Opera on Record p.542; CELLETTI p.380; MARINELLI p.435; Opera on CD(1) p.114 (2) p.126 (3) p.141; L’Avant Scène Opéra No.50 p.130; MET p.220; MET(VID) p.124; PENGUIN p.195; GIUDICI p.140; Opéra International mai 1999 No.235 p.66; Répertoire No.130 décembre 1999 p.86; American Record Guide September/October 2000 Vol.63 No.5 pp.73-83

This recording is reviewed in the following publications:-

(The) Gramophone – October 1967 p.225 [PHW]; January 1968 p.366 [DST]; Special Awards Issue 1998 p.115 [JBS]; April 1999 p.36 [IM]; October 2005 p.101 [JBS]

Opera – December 1967 p.994 [AB]

Opera News – September 23 1967 p.30

Orpheus – April 1998 p.60 (mention) [GH]

Comments:- According to Jacopo Serafini this recording was made on 14-17, 19-21 September 1966 («E colpa amore? – Infelicita e prodigi di Elena Souliotis» by Jacopo Serafini p.276).