Great emotions and a tragic story, everything we love about opera.

By: May. 26, 2024
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You can say that it is a tandem in the Italian repertoire: Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci. Performed on many stages for over a hundred years, the one-act Cavalleria rusticana was coReview: CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA / PAGLIACCI at Wroclaw Opera mposed by Pietro Mascagni (premiered in Rome in 1890), and the two-act opera Pagliacci by Ruggiero Leoncavallo (performed for the first time on stage in Milan, 1892).

The first is charming and easy to watch as a hot knife through butter—smooth and delightful! The music is like floating silk that gently touches all the senses. The more we see the image of white and gray making a simple but effective mix on stage. There is a simple message, without any disturbance, the intention goes directly to the audience. Petals are swirling and trees moving, trails of light create an incredible atmosphere, the music is charming (especially the harp), the choir is astonishing bringing great energy and diversity, there is a play of images, they move, change its clarity makes the show pleasant to watch. Turiddu (Nazarii Kachala) is brilliant, has incredible energy on stage, and ability to move the audience with great ease. It may sound strange, but his love and dilemmas are Review: CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA / PAGLIACCI at Wroclaw Opera enjoyable to watch.

The plot is also simple and ends tragically, so everything we are familiar with from the opera. The difference is that there are few characters and it is impossible to get lost. Effortlessly, we follow dramatic destinies and characters torn by emotions. It’s really fun!

Pagliacci is quite different but still accessible. Even if begging is full of joy and nothing announces the tragedy that is inexorably approaching - spoiler alert - there will be corpses! But before the end leaves the audience gasping, there is a lot of comedy, there is more color, and the choreography (by Janina Niesobska) brings even more flavor and entertainment. The main characters are designed to bring pleasure to the audience despite their dramas (but you know opera dramas, they always find a way out).

The end of the ball is absolutely breathtaking, after being captured in a white symbolic narrative we are suddenly drowning in splendor, gold, vastness, and wealth, masked people evoke the gravity of something that will soon happen (did I already mention that someone is going to die?).


Director Waldemar Zawodzinski has accustomed us to beautiful images and the feeling that opera does not need to be incomprehensible and unnaturally bloated. He does the same thing here. In his previous collaborations with the Wroclaw Opera, he proved that simplicity can be defended by its beauty. These shows are for everyone (except perhaps those who are afraid of clowns), they are light, the music is truly magnificent and even if you kept your eyes closed during the whole show you would have a lot of fun. However, I advise you to leave them open, because absorbing the beauty of this music with your eyes directed toward the stage makes for an even better experience!

Photo: M. Grotowski


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