"Oh Lola, red as the cherry in your milky white blouse…"
A small village in Sicily, Easter Sunday. A despondent Santuzza searches for Turiddu, the man she loves. Before leaving for the army he was in love with Lola. But Santuzza, despite being married to Alfio, has won back Turiddu’s heart... In 1889, on Puccini’s advice, Pietro Mascagni chose to adapt one of Giovanni Verga’s plays for an opera composition competition. Mascagni won the prize and the first performance of the work was an unprecedented triumph for the 26-year-old composer. Numerous performances would follow and the saga of a small community of men and women slowly engulfed by an inexorable tragedy would quickly become a huge success all across Europe. Elīna Garanča and then Elena Zhidkova will lend their voices to the role of the heart-breaking Santuzza. Mario Martone has devised a new production of Paul Hindemith’s Sancta Susanna which is being presented in a double bill with his original La Scala production of Cavalleria rusticana. An opera from the composer’s early years, rediscovered in France in the early 2000s, Sancta Susanna is a profoundly expressionist work with several levels of interpretation. Klementia, who has been a nun for several years, is troubled by an apparition of Saint Susanna. The latter, performed by Anna Caterina Antonacci, lifts the veil on a carnal world she finds disturbing. Encouraged to confide by this awakening, Klementia recounts the passion of a young girl in the convent who many years before had stripped naked and embraced the body of Christ on the Cross. Darkness and light, life and death, body and soul all struggle and dialogue in this short, smouldering work in which the biblical figure of Susanna takes on an unparalleled psychological dimension.