Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana

Album cover art for upc 810449012201
Label: CSO
Catalog: CSOR 901 2201
Format: COMPACT DISC

Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Cooke, Sasha; Pretti, Piero; Visconti, Alessandra; Muti, Riccardo; Salsi, Luca; Miller, Ronnita Nicole; Rachvelishvili, Anita; Chicago Symphony Chorus

Riccardo Muti leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Chorus and a cast of outstanding soloists in Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana. As an opera, Cavalleria rusticana is one of the most enduring works for the stage, and its extraordinary popularity has never waned. This exquisite concert performance from February 2020 vividly captures the unforgettable cut of its melodies, the intoxicating colors of its Sicilian atmosphere and the urgent, heart-racing pace of its drama, which has few equals in the repertoire. The entire ensemble, featuring the notable portrayal of Santuzza by mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili, captures all the emotion and nuance of Mascagni’s opera as it hurtles toward its inevitable catastrophe — the celebrated Intermezzo offering the only moment of respite. In the early part of its history, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was in the pit for an astonishing number of operas, including nearly 50 performances of Cavalleria rusticana. The orchestra’s founding music director, Theodore Thomas, conducted the Intermezzo on the second program the Orchestra ever played on October 19, 1891. Riccardo Muti, world-renowned for his superlative interpretations of Italian operas, reunites the orchestral prowess of CSO with the work (one it had not performed in its entirety since 1931) in this definitive 21st-century performance certain to stand the test of time.

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