Opera Hong Kong Revives Two True-to-Life Italian Classics for a Thrilling Summer

Why We Recommend it

Opera Hong Kong is bringing Hong Kong audiences a new semi-staged double-bill production of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, two Italian opera masterpieces imbued with jealous passion, murderous intrigue and riveting drama.


Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, literally “Rustic Chivalry”, is set on an Easter morning in Sicily. Santuzza is anxiously looking for her lover Turridu, who she thinks has cheated on her and returned to his former fiancée, Lola who married the wine merchant Alfio when Turiddu was called to war. Santuzza tries in vain to win him back. Now an outcast, and mad with jealousy, she tells Alfio about his wife. Alfio challenges Turiddu to a fight.

Inspired by this captivating production, Ruggero Leoncavallo composed Pagliacci (“Clowns”), a verismo opera. The two-act opera which had its first performance in 1892, is based on a real murder case within an acting troupe of the late-19th century, set in a small Italian town. Canio heads a travelling acting troupe. Canio’s wife Nedda is secretly having an affair with Silvo, a young man in the town where they are having performances. Fearing Canio’s anger, Nedda attempts to break off the relationship but Silvio persuades her to run off with him after the performance. Tonio, one of the troupe’s actors, also desires Nedda, but she pushes him away. In revenge, Tonio tells Canio of Nedda’s affair. During the performance, Canio confronts Nedda and pulls a knife: art and life become one.

This production features an established production team and cast. Enrico Castiglione, director of this production, founded Italian festivals such as Taormina Opera Festival. Many of his productions have been broadcasted by Italy’s RAI TV worldwide. Under the baton of Maestro Gianluca Martinenghi, Chief Conductor of Macedonian National Theatre, the Opera Hong Kong Orchestra performs with a mixture of talented young artists from Hong Kong and mainland China on stage for this enduring classic.

Please note that the Italian performance is supplemented with Chinese and English surtitles.


When: 24 Aug 2019 - 25 Aug 2019 Where: Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall – 5 Edinburgh Place – Central