23 January 2021

The popular opera Cavalleria rusticana by Pietro Mascagni, conducted by maestro Paolo Bressano and directed by Dražen Siriščević, will premiere on our stage on Wednesday, January 27, starting at 7:30 PM.

Thanks to the application of a few creative solutions, opera has once again returned to our theatre program in compliance with all current anti-epidemic measures, thus allowing the Rijeka stage to become the scene of the Mediterranean passions from one of the most beautiful veristic operas, a musical drama in which the entanglement in love triangles, the emotionality, mutual conflicts and alternation of external action with the internal struggles of the characters create a tense story that is at the same time touching and shocking, without a moment of respite.

However, during the performance of the opera, the choir will sing in the rehearsal hall, completely removed from the stage and auditorium, with the sound transmitted to the performance hall. This setup will allow the spectators to experience this opera in all its musical splendor while strictly adhering to all protective measures.
“The path that we have chosen for the performance, with the cross and on the cross – a symbol of sacrifice yet also of a great crossroads – might be surprising. We could not just follow the authors faithfully and classically, turning a deaf ear or closing our eyes to the time in which we are currently living. In these limiting yet also challenging circumstances, we did not want to lose the magnificent musical image of the opera. Despite all the hardships, we tried to preserve it resolutely and bravely. On the stage, the ‘distant’ voices of the Rijeka Opera Choir will be heard in a separate space, and on the stage you will see only the silhouettes of those who are not singing, wordlessly and voicelessly witnessing the drama in which we are all trapped,” said the director of the opera, Dražen Siriščević, adding how the absence of the choir from the stage completely freed the dramatic space for only the soloists of the opera, along with two actors.
“This huge and demanding task was a great motivation for everyone from the excellent and inspired company of the Rijeka Theatre, which they accepted with dedication and without compromise. It was necessary to be able to give our all purely before the cross in a musical drama in which no one is spared or acquitted.”

The dramatic musical and acting performance of our opera principals, primarily the national principal Kristina Kolar in the role of Santuzza, will therefore compensate for the physical absence of the choir from the stage.
On Cavalleria rusticana and her role, for which she has previously received the prestigious Milko Trnina Award, Kristina Kolar says, “It is one of my favorite operas that I experience deeply from the first to the last bar! I enjoy every moment of that wonderful music in which you can literally smell Sicily, and the emotions I experience while playing Santuzza are sincere and felt in the core of my being. Such roles cannot be played with restraint or insincerely. Either you give everything, or nothing! And when my temperament coincides with the temperament of the character, I no longer know where Kristina ends and Santuzza begins…they merge into one.”

Kristina Kolar will be joined by Domagoj Dorotić in the role of Turiddu and Robert Kolar as Alfio in the performances of the opera story about love, passion, longing and death. The young Emilia Rukavina will perform in the role of Lola, while Ivanica Vunić and Sofija Cingula will alternate in the role of Lucija’s mother. The actors Jasmin Mekić and Giuseppe Nicodemo from the Croatian and Italian drama companies will also take part in the performance.

Cavalleria rusticana, a one-act opera full of elemental human emotion that takes place on Easter Day in a small Sicilian town, the first opera by the young Pietro Mascagni, premiered at Rome’s Teatro Costanzi on May 17, 1890. It was a huge success; the speed with which it ascended to the world stage had been unseen until then, and it remains a favorite of the repertoire to this day. The day of its premiere also marked the beginning of musical verismo, for which the highest priority was artistic truth (il vero). Everyday themes appeared on the stage, authentic stories told fiercely and directly, without idealization, nearly bordering on naturalism. The story of passionate lovers and the bloody revenge of Cavalleria rusticana have been met with an equally passionate response from its audience…