Two of a kind

One-act operas sing most atypical tales


Generally performed in tandem with other operas, the paired works on this weekend’s UNLV Opera Theatre bill are thematically well matched. Each abandons the upper classes and the mythical characters that form the basis for most grand opera, instead focusing on the plight of ordinary people.

The Details

LUNLV Opera Theatre performs Cavalleria Rusticana & Gianni Schicchi
March 21, 7:30 p.m.
$25 ($10 for seniors, students, military and UNLV staff)
Judy Bayley Theatre, 895-2787

Nights at the opera typically are filled with tales of betrayal, retribution and passion, and Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana fits this mold perfectly. Set in Sicily, it is an emotionally charged tale of village lovers’ jealousies that inevitably lead to tragedy. In contrast, Giacomo Puccini’s more urban and farcical Gianni Schicchi features a Florentine family waiting for a rich relative to die. The snobby, grasping bunch finds itself dependent on the advice of peasant Schicchi to help recraft the will. Class warfare and comedy ensue.

The plots are a little complicated, but a quick reading of the program notes beforehand should clear things up. Neither will leave newbies out in the cold, as both contain tunes frequently heard in film and advertising. For example, the haunting orchestral “Intermezzo” from Cav opens the film Raging Bull; the opera and its themes are also an integral component at the conclusion of The Godfather Part III. The much-used aria “O Mio Babbino Caro” from Schicchi has been the soundtrack for ad campaigns ranging from Tott’s champagne to Pizza Hut, and is also heard in the movies Bean and A Room With a View.


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