2011-08-28 Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni), Opera Bergen

Santuzza = Elena Zelenskaya
Turiddu = Eduardo Villa
Alfio = Anooshah Golesorkhi
Mamma Lucia = Tone Kvam Thorsen
Lola = Sylvia Skeie Vik

Anne Randine Øverby, conductor
Stage director - Rocc
Light design - Jens Lange

This page was last updated: June 20, 2022
The crisp, clear sounds of Cavalleria Rusticana had never sounded more beautiful and true than the orchestra of Opera Bergen played it under its leader Anne Randine Øverby. Beatiful and clear it sounded at the same time it served the drama.

Musically the low-point for me was the Siciliana sung Eduardo Villa. It sounded like it was sung by an old tenor at the end of his career. Is it that the Siciliana (O Lola, ch'ai di latti la cammisa) is so difficult to sing right, or is it just that it is the beginning of the opera. I don't know. I just know that Eduardo Villa convinced me vocally and dramatically later in the evening, especially in the duet between Turriddu and Santuzza.

The evening was an evening of old, seasoned opera singers. They all warmed up or maybe it was me who warmed up to them. But then it was the Regie of young director Rocc that almost ruined Cavalleria Rusticana singelhandedly.

The chorus, who was they supposed to be in this production. Was they drunken teen-agers from a graduation party? Lola and Mamma Lucia seemed to work in this "High School". I imagined Mamma Lucia as the rector. Lola as just one of the teachers. Alfio, her husband, instead of being one of the prominent men of the village seemed to be a traveling beggar.

I mistook Mamma Lucia for Santuzza since she was the first of the principals to present herself and she was even praying. Both Santuzza and Mamma Lucia was had black hair and same age (so it seemed) and they were the only ones who in this production were sincere. In many ways Cavalleria Rusticana was here the story of hypocrites against sincerity. Turriddu was no hypocrite, or was he. And Alfio...

Most of what the chorus did not help the story forward, it confused rather than explain. Was that intentional from director Rocc? But one point was rather good: Instead of the tradional horrendous screaming "Hanno mazzato compare Turriddu" , one of the chorists was given a note and said in the most strange voice this message twice. I think it was THE PROOF of Hypocrisy if we needed it.

Given the material they were given I cannot imagine the principals and chorus could have improved it more. Eduardo Villa was really Turriddu, Elena Zelenskaya was truly Santuzza, I loved Tone Kvam Thorsen's Mamma Lucia (elegant, and so moving), Anooshah Golesorkhi was a solid Alfi, and I disliked Sylvia Skeie Vik (I always dislike LOLA, always, no matter who sings it and especially when they are believable.

And naturally it started to rain in the middle of the opera. Even the weather gods was not loving this opera completely.