Cavalleria Rusticana

Armidale Town Hall -

October 1963

Stage Direction by Muriel Jensen

Musical Direction by Neville Meale

By Pietro Mascagni.

 

SYNOPSIS

A village in Sicily, late nineteenth century

Act I

Turiddu has served his time in the army. During his absence his fickle sweetheart Lola as married his rival Alfio. Turiddu, on his return, turns his attention to the willing Santuzza, who soon finds herself deserted and betrayed when Lola, in spite of her marriage, encourages Turiddu's affection again.

Before the curtain rises, the orchestral prelude is interrupted by Turiddu's singing of a serenade to Lola. As the curtain rises, villagers make their way into the church, for this is Easter Morning. Others arrive from the fields, the women singing "Sweetly the birds in the myrtles are carolling", the men answer "Across the fields we hear your happy voices". They go off together, leaving Santuzza who then asks Lucia the whereabouts of Turiddu. Lucia says that he has gone to another village for wine but is told that he was seen last night in the village. Lucia invites her inside to talk but she refuses as a sinner.

They are interrupted by the arrival of Alfio singing "Gaily go my horses fleet" leading into a chorus of "Oh the jolly life, boys". He is a happy character and is pleased to be heading for home and Lola. But on the way he asks Lucia for a glass of his favourite wine, to be told that Turiddu has gone to get more of it. Alfio is surprised as he saw him that morning lurking near his cottage.

The organ is heard from the church and the choir begins to sing "Regina Coeli". People enter the square and sing an Easter Hymn. "O rejoice that the Lord has arisen", then they make their way into the church. Santuzza then explains to Lucia "Mother, you know the story" and adds further details of how Turiddu has gone back to Lola, "she stole my lover, why should I live then?". Lucia enters the church to pray for her.

Turiddu appears. Santuzza tells him that she is waiting for him. He tries to avoid a scene but Santuzza tells him she knows he spent the night with Lola. He denies it but says her pleading is in vain. Santuzza says she will forgive him as she loves him still. They are interrupted by the voice of Lola, humming a seductive song, "O gentle flower of love". She asks Santuzza why she isn't at church and she replies "they only pray whose hearts are free from sin'. Lola cheekily sings, "Then thanks be to Heaven, Heaven will watch o'er me!" tells Turiddu to stay with his lover and goes into the church. Santuzza sings, "Stay, stay, Turiddu, why are you so cold and unheeding", to be answered in duet by Turiddu, "Nay, all is over, vain is they pleading". Finally he throws her to the ground and rushes into the church as she curses him.

Alfio arrives and while in this mood Santuzza tells him that Lola betrays him and that "Turiddu hath stolen mine honour". Alfio incensed sing, "Ah faithless traitors" and says Turiddu's blood shall flow. He goes off to perfect his plans and Santuzza runs after him.

Act II

The stage is empty and while the organ from the church blends with the orchestra of the opera house, we hear the famous Intermezzo.

At last the service has ended, the people leave the church singing "Now homeward returning". Turiddu emerges with Lola and invites all to drink with him, "See the merry wine is winking". Alfio appears and is also invited to a drink but tells Turiddu it might be poisoned! Turiddu realises Alfio knows all and tells him he is at his service. In the Sicilian style, they embrace and Turiddu bites Alfio's ear as a challenge and sings, "come then, let's see whose knife is longest". Alfio says he'll wait for him in the garden. Turiddu asks his mother to bless him and if he doesn't return to "Guard my poor Santuzza" and pray for him. Lucia does not understand and he runs off. The square fills with agitated people as Santuzza appears and embraces Lucia. A scream pierces the air, "Turiddu is killed". Santuzza falls senseless. The grim tragedy of Easter day in a Sicilian village has ended.

 

CAST

Turiddu, A farmer: John McDonald, 
Santuzza, A peasant girl: Linda Bowden, 
Lucia, Mother of Turiddu, A tavern keeper: May Robins, 
Alfio, A carter: Howard Wheaton, 
Lola, Alfio's wife, Former sweetheart of Turiddu: Beryl Sattler

Peasant neighbours and villagers: First Sopranos: Judith Fayle, May Croaker, Doreen Keena, Margaret Smith, Elaine Graham, Helen Townsend, Susan Schofield, Lorraine Jurd, Susan Ewing, Second Sopranos: Winsome Fayle, Jeanette Hewitt, Margaret Brock, Margaret Kitley, Deidre Poulton, Pauline Summerbell, Gloria Heath, Margaret English, Pat Robson, Wendy Greet, Betty Brown, Altos: Frances O'Brien, Jill Royal, Anne Jensen, Jay Stewart, Jenny Smith, Margaret Coggan, Wendy Roberts, Melva Lintott, Jean Little, Alison Moran, Tenors: Dale Cregan, Michael Dunkin, Dennes Fayle, Milton Milligan, Max Post, Ray Poulton, Bert Buddeke, John Stephenson, Basses: Peter Poggioli, Jack Brennan, Jim Edwards, Bruce Leman, Norman Devlin, Ilford Keena, Arthur Robins, Alan McEachern, William Jensen

Children: Susan Smith, Sandra Brock, Penelope Greet, Christopher Keena, Josef Keena

Extras and Waiters: Roslyn Barton, Don Harper, Colin Bourne, Tom Mace, Ian Cook

 

ORCHESTRA

Violins: Lois Kesteven (Leader), Eunice Allingham, Joycelyn Cane, Elvie Devlin, Derek Lindsay, Elfi Sturmer, Frances Adkins, Violas: Leonard Bell, Brian Harrison, Cellos: Norah Darling, Elizabeth Lewis, Double Bass: Carole Jensen, Flute: Margaret Hawkins, Oboe: Evan Lewis, Clarinets: Jim Hawkins, Bill Robison, Tympani: Norma Bell, Piano: Barbara McGarity, Organ: Betty McEachern

 

PRODUCTION TEAM

Stage Direction: Muriel Jensen
Musical Direction: Neville Meale
Assistant Director: Michael Dunkin
Business Manager: Peg Leask
Stage Manager: Ilford Keena
Lighting: Geoff Randall with Geoff Hook, Frank Oakes
Posters: Enid Brennan
Properties: Vi Watson
Make-up: Arthur Woodcock with Lois Eaton, Margaret Failes, Lorna Pinson, Gwen Whitby, Judy Haddon
Rehearsal Pianists: Barbara McGarity, Betty McEachern
Publicity: Milton Milligan
Assistant Stage Manager: John Maguire
Set and Costume Design: Faye Horne 
Programme Cover: Lenore Crocker
Scenery: Faye Horne, Ilford Keena, Harry Harris, Vic Crittenden, Bert Buddeke, Ross Robinson, Roslyn Barton, John Opbroek
Stage Crew: Rita Miller, Aline Christenson, Robert Poulton, John Ryman

 

THANKS

Mr Muir of Armidale Teachers' College for rehearsal facility, Mr Brennan of the Armidale Technical College for rehearsal facility, Newell's for loan of organ and piano