Pietro Mascagni (1863 - 1945)
Intermezzo from "Cavalleria Rusticana"
Pietro Mascagni was writing in Italy about 100 years ago, and his first opera Cavalleria Rusticana was a huge hit when it first appeared in 1890. In the public's view it compared very favourably with Wagner's long and serious operas. Its attractions include a simple and straightforward story, plenty of sex and violence, and commendable brevity. Although the opera is in one act, it is divided into two sections by this famous intermezzo, played while the villagers are in church. Mascagni turned out to be rather a one-hit wonder, for his other works are now entirely neglected.