by Daniel Hathaway
One of the most popular of all opera titles came about through a contest. 27-year-old Pietro Mascagni barely made the deadline for a new opera competition set up by Milanese publisher Edoardo Sonzogno in 1888, but won out over 72 other aspiring young Italian composers who fulfilled the entrance criterion of never before having had an opera staged. His winning entry, the one-act opera Cavalleria rusticana, received its premiere in Rome in 1890.
Although Mascagni lived until 1945 and penned fourteen other stage works, none ever received the attention that “Cav” attracted. Cleveland’s Opera Circle, having previously produced Mascagni’s second opera, L’Amico Fritz, will mount two staged performances of Cavalleria rusticana on Friday evening, November 21 and Sunday afternoon, November 23, at First Baptist Church in Shaker Heights. [Read more…]