Royal Opera House 2017-18 Preview: Elīna Garanča Among 4 Reasons to See ‘Cavalleria Rusticana’ & ‘Pagliacci’

By David Salazar

This Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden opens its production of the famed Italian double bill often known as “CavPag.”

“Cavalleria Rusticana” and “Pagliacci” will get 11 performances this season with the final one slated for Jan. 13, 2018, almost a month-and-a-half after it opens its run.

Here are reasons to see this year’s “CavPag” at the Royal Opera House.

Elīna Garanča 

Simply put, the Latvian mezzo excels at everything she does, rarely ever making a poor move. She performed this role earlier. Regarding her role debut, the Opera Explorer noted, “Elīna Garanča as Santuzza demonstrated both her vocal supremacy and dramatic acting gift – she undoubtfully is at her best form and the role fits her voice as a glove.” She could well-prove to be the star of the show and is definitely not to be missed.

First Time Turridu

Bryan Hymel is one of the exciting tenors in the world right now, his elegant vocal style perfect for the French repertoire in particular. Turridu is a heavier role than we are used to hearing from the American tenor, making this quite an interesting proposition. The tenor certainly has the goods in the upper range and it should be interesting to see if the next step in his career involves heavier roles in the Italian repertoire.

Award-Winning Production

Damiano Michieletto’s production has been a massive success since its inception in 2015. In fact, the production is an Olivier-Award winner, renowned for the way that it connects the two stories by setting them in the same exact village and has the characters from both stories interact across the diverging musical universes of Leoncavallo and Mascagni. The production is a collaboration with La Monnaie, Opera Australi, and The Göteborg Opera.

Diverging Clowns

While the cast for “Cavalleria” is set to stay intact throughout the run, the cast for “Pagliacci” will see changes throughout the run, making for repeatable experiences. The first cast will star tenor Fabio Sartori in his ROH debut as Canio; he remains throughout the entire production. Carmen Giannattasio and Simon Keenlyside join in as Nedda and Tonio. Meanwhile, the second set of casting will showcase Simona Mihai as Nedda.