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Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana

August 10, 1999

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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: November 12, 1984
  • Release Date: November 12, 1984
  • Label: RCA Classics
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:10:32
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001BKAP1M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,930 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

As for the music itself, it's wonderful.
Eric S. Kim
A must have for fans of this opera as just one opera.
Rudy Avila
The precis is that the first version is the best.
Santa Fe Listener

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By D. R. Schryer on September 21, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Mascagni wrote Cavalleria Rusticana as an entry in a competition for a one-act opera. His entry not only won the competition but quickly became a phenomenal success -- and deservedly so. Cavalleria Rusticana is a genuine masterpiece and one of the few operas which is beautiful from beginning to end with no dry spots. In this outstanding recording the principal roles are sung flawlessly, and with both beauty and passion, by tenor Placido Domingo and soprano Renata Scotto. The supporting cast is also quite good and James Levine conducts the National Philharmonic Orchestra (an all-star British recording orchestra) superbly. If you have come to think of Cavalleria Rusticana simply as an old "warhorse" which merely serves as the stablemate for twin-bill performances with Pagliacci please listen to this great recording with unbiased ears. You will discover that Cavalleria Rusticana -- despite it relatively short length -- is one of the most beautiful operas ever written.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By madamemusico on September 25, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Mascagni's one-act opera "Cavalleria Rusticana," derided by many after its premiere as being crude, low-class and unworthy of survival, has indeed survived changing operatic fashions to become one of the world's most popular operas. I find it to be an interesting work, not on the highest level of art but an interesting conflict between an unrepentant philanderer and the wronged husband who eventually brings him down.

Over the years there have been many recordings of this opera, from Callas-DiStefano to no less than 2 versions featuring Jussi Bjorling, 2 versions featuring Franco Corelli, plus versions with Del Monaco, Domingo, Pavarotti, etc etc etc. This mid-'70s entry didn't sound all that good when it was on vinyl, but now that it's been through the digital remastering phase it sounds pretty excellent.

Domingo sings in a fairly monotonous, snarly manner, but this suits Turiddu to a T; plus, he was in fabulous voice. Renata Scotto, who at this stage in her career was definitely on the downslide, does have some odd, unfocused and/or wobbly notes, but her interpretation is second only to the legendary Lina Bruna-Rasa on the old Gigli version, and here James Levine conducts much better tempi than Mascagni himself who s-l-o-w-e-d the opera down as he got older.

The real "find" and surprise in the set is Pablo Elvira, a fine baritone who only spent a couple of seasons at the Metropolitan Opera, as Alfio. He sings both dramatically and incisively; listen to his "Il cavallo scalpita," it is the briskest AND finest on records.

Overall this set is much better than the vastly overrated Milanov-Bjorling-Merrill recording on RCA, mostly because Milanov, though in excellent voice, simply sounds too heavy and matronly to be taken seriously as Santuzza. Scotto, for all her vocal problems, sounds terrific.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By scifisci on June 30, 2006
Format: Audio CD
There may be many more famous versions of this opera, but THIS is the one to get. In through-composed operas such as this, where continuity and cohesiveness are especially vital to the dramatic flow, there is a touch some conductor's have which allows them to unify the music in a truly magical way. Levine has that touch, and the principals, domingo and scotto do also. Domingo gives a dramatically gripping performance which is better than his later one. Scotto has such a knack for dramatic nuance and subtlety that after listening to her santuzza probably a hundred times, i still find it interesting! Her wobble isn't really an issue, and she truly "lives" the role. She is a rare performer who's characterization realllly makes a difference. Also, the sound of this recording is remarkably "real" in terms of volume, echo, etc. I never really noticed these things until I listened to domingo's later recording which is recorded too close and has a disturbing digital glassiness. So basically, if you want a first, or second or third recording of CAV, get this!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By dolcissima2780 on June 17, 2003
Format: Audio CD
What a great performance of this opera! Scotto and Domingo make this recording truly come alive. The supporting cast and orchestra are also very good. Before I heard this recording, I was not a fan of Italian opera, but now I can't get enough of it. Renata Scotto's voice is powerful, yet not overbearing and screeching like many other prima donnas. Placido Domingo steals the show with his flawless interpretation of Turridu. Although a fairly short opera, Cavalleria Rusticana is pure Italian drama that deserves more recognition. A "must have" at a great price. Please don't pass this one up!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael Lee Davis on July 6, 2009
Format: Audio CD
My first experience with Cavalleria Rusticana was not a good one; I bought the legendary Pavarotti-Freni-Varady Decca recording and was thoroughly disappointed by the uninvolved singing, the painfully slow conducting and the HORRID sound quality (how a mid-70s Decca recording could be that atrocious is beyond me!). I was so disappointed that I wrongly assumed that it was the opera itself at fault and I did not pursue the matter further for a good ten years!
So, with some little trepidation, I purchased this relatively unknown recording on the recommendation of a friend who was also unsatisfied with the aforementioned Pavarotti-Decca aberration. To my utter surprise, it was as if I was hearing "Cav" for the very first time and the whole opera just jumped to life!
The youthful Placido Domingo and Renata Scotto, the peasant couple Turridu and Santuzza respectively, will just blow you away! And even James Levine - that most unpredictable of opera conductors, to say the least - rose to the occasion and conducted Mascagni as if his fate really lay in the balance! The 1970s Ambrosian Opera Chorus in harness with the National Philharmonic Orchestra (a band of elite British recording musicians) produced such an utterly idiomatic sound that you would swear that you were standing right in the middle of late 19th century Sicily!
An atmospheric and sonic cou de gras!
Please snap this up before RCA decides that this recording is no longer any real competition for Domingo's Later DG recording with Sinopoli and Baltsa (arguably in better sound but entirely lacking in passion and youthful fire). The thought that future generations might miss out on this masterful achievement is abhorrent in the extreme!
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