Opera in one act
Libretto by G. Tarjoni-Tocetti and G. Menashey
Santuzza, young peasant woman
Turiddu, a young peasant
Lucia, his mother
Lola, his wife
Peasants and peasant women, children.
Location: Sicilian village.
Time: Sunday morning of 1880.
HISTORY OF CREATION
The reason for writing the work was a competition of one-act operas, announced by the Milan publisher E. Sonzogno. To participate in it, Mascagni interrupted the work on the opera “Ratcliffe” and turned to the subject of “Rural honor”, which attracted his attention for a long time. Novel of the Italian writer Giovanni Verga (1840-1922) “Rural
honor”, published in 1889, gained fame due to the staging, which was with the brilliant performer of the title role of E. Duse. The play was distinguished by the maximum concentration of the action, the plot. Its events unfold within one morning, which, undoubtedly, was especially attractive to the composer.
The libretto written by G. Tardjoni-Tocetti (1859-1934) with the participation of G. Menashi was initially two-act, but, according to the condition of the competition, was reduced to one act. The central place in the opera was occupied by the images of the main actors, depicted by mean, pointed strokes: boundlessly passionate, passionate in love, Santuzza, and frivolous, windy Lola; passionate, keen Turiddu and mercilessly vindictive Alfio. People’s scenes are noticeably developed. Two acts of drama are combined in the opera by a symphonic intermezzo, which later gained wide popularity.
Of the 70 submitted to the competition, the opera “Rural Honor” won the first prize. May 17, 1890 in Rome, premiered, which was a triumphant success. Soon the opera was performed in many countries
of the world, promoting the spread of the principles of verism.
The music of Rural Honor is saturated with a flexible, passionate cantilena, close to folk songs. Her emotional contrasts reinforce the plot’s urgency: frantic passions are replaced by a state of spiritual detachment, the dramatic clash of human characters is opposed to the calm of spring nature.
In the orchestral introduction serene-pastoral images, contemplative moods are prominently highlighted by a lyrically agitated melody. Behind the curtain sounds Siciliana Turiddu “O Lola, a hot night creation” (middle section of the entry); her sluggish melody, accompanied by a guitar accompaniment, is full of sensual languor and bliss.
The choral introduction “Fruitful fruit on the trees adorn” conveys the elevated atmosphere of the holiday. Colorfully orchestrated song Alfio with the chorus “The horses are wildly flying” imbued with a proud daring. The chorus “Sing the song of triumph” with its enlightened sublime moods contrasts sharply with the drama of the next scene. Elegically sad Santuzza romance “Far away soldier” is a shade of ballad narrative. In the duet of Santuzza and Turddu, stridently passionate and sorrowfully enlightened melodies are juxtaposed. The duet is interrupted by a coquettishly graceful song by Lola “A Flower of Mirror Waters”. In the continuation of the whole duet with increasing excitement, wide melodies sound. Dramatism reaches the top in the duo of Santuzza and Alfio. The symphonic intermezzo introduces a discharge; his tranquil calm casts pictures of a peaceful, affectionate nature. Sharp rhythmic drinking song Turiddu “Hello, Gold Cup” splashes sparkling fun. She contrasts Turios’ arioso “In my wine I repent,” full of deep sorrow; A plastic vocal melody is accompanied by a melodious cantilena string. Feeling of a passionate entreaty, Turidu’s last arioso “Mother Sante…”, which transmits the ultimate tension of the soul forces, is permeated.