Suor Angelica & Cavalleria Rusticana

Suor Angelica & Cavalleria Rusticana

Suor Angelica, "La grazia …"

Cast (28th September 2019, Stwit Theatre)

Sister Angelica (Soprano): Eleanor Parsons

The Princess (Contralto): Imogen Garner

The Abbess (Mezzo-Soprano): Gràinne Gillis

The Monitress (Mezzo-Soprano): Rachel Morás

The Mistress of the Novices (Mezzo-Soprano): Zena O'May

Sister Genovieffa (Soprano): Megan Strachan

Sister Osmina (Soprano): Rachael Marsh

Sister Dolcina (Soprano): Lona Jones

The alms sister 1 (Soprano): Vanessa Cole-Wilkinson

The alms sister 2 (Soprano): Emma Williams

The lay sister 1 (Soprano): Sophie Atalar

The lay sister 2 (Mezzo-Soprano): Emma Williams

Cast (29th September 2019, St George's Concert Room)

Sister Angelica (Soprano): Rachael Marsh

The Princess (Contralto): Gràinne Gillis

The Abbess (Mezzo-Soprano): Zena O'May

The Monitress (Mezzo-Soprano): Rachel Morás

The Mistress of the Novices (Soprano): Imogen Garner

Sister Genovieffa (Soprano): Sophie Atalar

Sister Osmina (Soprano): Megan Strachan

Sister Dolcina (Soprano): Lona Jones

The alms sister 1 (Soprano): Vanessa Cole-Wilkinson

The alms sister 2 (Soprano): Emma Williams

The lay sister 1 (Soprano): Eleanor Parsons

The lay sister 2 (Mezzo-Soprano): Emma Williams

Suor Angelica

This one act opera takes place in a convent in Italy in the latter part of the 17th century.

The opera opens with scenes showing typical aspects of life in the convent – all the sisters sing hymns, the Monitor scolds two lay-sisters, everyone gathers for recreation in the courtyard. The sisters rejoice because, as the mistress of novices explains, this is the first of three evenings that occur each year when the setting sun strikes the fountain so as to turn its water golden. This event causes the sisters to remember Bianca Rosa, a sister who has died. Sister Genevieve suggests they pour some of the "golden" water onto her tomb.

The nuns discuss their desires. While the Monitor believes that any desire at all is wrong, Sister Genevieve confesses that she wishes to see lambs again because she used to be a shepherdess when she was a girl, and Sister Dolcina wishes for something good to eat. Sister Angelica claims to have no desires, but as soon as she says so, the nuns begin gossiping – Sister Angelica has lied, because her true desire is to hear from her wealthy, noble family, whom she has not heard from in seven years. Rumors are that she was sent to the convent in punishment.

The conversation is interrupted by the Infirmary Sister, who begs Sister Angelica to make an herbal remedy, her specialty. Two tourières arrive, bringing supplies to the convent, as well as news that a grand coach is waiting outside. Sister Angelica becomes nervous and upset, thinking rightly that someone in her family has come to visit her. The Abbess chastises Sister Angelica for her inappropriate excitement and announces the visitor, the Princess, Sister Angelica's aunt.

The Princess explains that Angelica's sister is to be married and that Angelica must sign a document renouncing her claim to her inheritance. Angelica replies that she has repented for her sin, but she cannot offer up everything in sacrifice to the Virgin – she cannot forget the memory of her illegitimate son, who was taken from her seven years ago. The Princess at first refuses to speak, but finally informs Sister Angelica that her son died of fever two years ago. Sister Angelica, devastated, signs the document and collapses in tears. The Princess leaves.

Sister Angelica is seized by a heavenly vision – she believes she hears her son calling for her to meet him in paradise. She makes a poison and drinks it, but realizes that in committing suicide, she has committed a mortal sin and has damned herself to eternal separation from her son. She begs the Virgin Mary for mercy and, as she dies, she sees a miracle: the Virgin Mary appears, along with Sister Angelica's son, who runs to embrace her.

Cast (28th September 2019, Stwit Theatre)

Santuzza (Soprano): Charlotte Derry

Turiddu (Tenor): Jonathan Cooke

Turiddu (Cover): Thomas Kinch

Lucia (Contralto): Gràinne Gillis

Alfio (Baritone): Thomas Nieβer

Lola (Mezzo-Soprano): Rachel Morás

Cast (29th September 2019, St George's Concert Room)

Santuzza (Soprano): Zena O'May

Turiddu (Tenor): Lewis Quinn

Turriddu (Cover): Thomas Kinch

Lucia (Contralto): Gràinne Gillis

Alfio (Baritone): Sam Young

Lola (Mezzo-Soprano): Rachel Morás

 

Cavalleria Rusticana

This one act opera takes place in a 19th-century Sicilian Village on an Easter morning.

Before the action takes place, the young villager Turiddu had returned from military service to find that his fiancée Lola had married the carter Alfio while Turiddu was away. In revenge, Turiddu had seduced Santuzza, a young woman in the village. As the opera begins, Lola, overcome by her jealousy of Santuzza, has begun an adulterous affair with Turiddu.

Offstage, Turiddu is heard singing a siciliana, "O Lola c'hai di latti la cammisa" ("O Lola! like the snow, pure in thy whiteness!"). To one side is the church; to the other is Lucia's wine shop and the house where she lives with her son, Turiddu. The villagers move about the square, singing of the beautiful spring day, "Gli aranci olezzano sui verdi margini" ("The air is sweet with orange blossoms") and a hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Some villagers enter the church, and others wander off still singing.


Santuzza, having slept with Turiddu and suspecting that he has betrayed her for Lola, is distraught and approaches Lucia as she comes out of her house. Santuzza asks for Turiddu, but Lucia replies that he has gone to another town to fetch some wine. Santuzza tells her that he was seen during the night in the village. Lucia asks her inside to talk, but just at that moment Alfio arrives on his wagon, accompanied by the villagers. He praises the joys of a teamster's life and the beauty of Lola his bride. Alfio asks Lucia for some of her fine old wine. She tells him it has run out and Turiddu has gone away to buy more. Alfio replies that he had seen Turiddu early that morning near his cottage. Lucia starts to express surprise, but Santuzza stops her.

Alfio leaves. The choir inside the church is heard singing the Regina Coeli. Outside, the villagers sing an Easter Hymn, "Inneggiamo, il Signor non è morto" ("We rejoice that our Saviour is living!") joined by Santuzza. The villagers enter the church, while Santuzza and Lucia remain outside. Lucia asks Santuzza why she signalled her to remain silent when Alfio said that he had seen Turiddu that morning. Santuzza exclaims, "Voi lo sapete" ("You well know") and tells Lucia the story of her seduction by Turiddu and his affair with Lola. Lucia pities Santuzza, who feels dishonored, having been seduced by Turiddu only to be abandoned by him for his old flame, Lola. Santuzza feels she cannot enter the church, but begs Lucia to go inside herself and pray for Santuzza who stays behind to try to plead with Turiddu to leave Lola and return to her.

Turiddu arrives. Santuzza upbraids him for pretending to have gone away, when he was actually seeing Lola. Lola enters the square singing. She mocks Santuzza and goes inside the church. Turiddu turns to follow Lola, but Santuzza begs him to stay. Turiddu pushes her away. She clings to him. He loosens her hands, throws her to the ground, and enters the church. Alfio arrives looking for Lola. Santuzza tells him that his wife has betrayed him with Turiddu. Alfio swears to take revenge which causes Santuzza to repent for having disclosed the affair and begs Alfio to stop to no avail.

 

The villagers come out of the church. Turiddu is in high spirits because he is with Lola and Santuzza appears to have gone. He invites his friends to his mother’s wine shop where he sings a drinking song, "Viva, il vino spumeggiante" ("Hail to the bubbling wine!"). Alfio joins them. Turiddu offers him wine, but he refuses it. All understand that trouble is in the air. The women leave, taking Lola with them. In a brief exchange of words, Alfio challenges Turiddu to a duel. Following Sicilian custom, the two men embrace, and Turiddu, in a token of acceptance, bites Alfio’s ear, drawing blood which signifies a fight to the death. Alfio leaves and Turiddu calls Lucia back. He tells her that he is going outside to get some air and asks that she be a kindly mother to Santuzza if he should not return: "Un bacio, mamma! Un altro bacio!—Addio!" ("One kiss, mother! One more kiss! – Farewell!").

Turiddu rushes out. Lucia, weeping, wanders aimlessly around outside her house. Santuzza approaches and throws her arms around her. The villagers start to crowd around. Voices are heard in the distance and a woman cries, "They have murdered Turiddu!" Santuzza faints and Lucia collapses in the arms of the women villagers.

Cavalleria Rusticana, "Benvenuto, con noi dovrete bere …"