( both operas recorded in 1980, featuring : The Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti ; Ambrosian Opera Chorus directed by John McCarthy ; and, Southend Boys' Choir directed by Michael Crabb.
"Cavalleria Rusticana" stars two absolute legends of opera : the Catalan soprano Montserrat Caballe as Santuzza, is paired with Spanish tenor Jose Carreras as Turiddu.
"I Pagliacci" also stars Carreras as Canio, with soprano Renata Scotto as Nedda. )
There is a good reason for placing these two masterpieces of Italian opera together - by a pair of Late19C / Early20C composers who are, perhaps, a little less well-known nowadays, than names like Verdi, Rossini and Puccini -, namely that the celebrated operatic publisher of the time, Eduardo Sonzogno, was very keen on presenting the two works on the same programme ...
Indeed, if it were not for Sonzogno, neither of these operas would exist ; for it was that publisher's offer of a prize for a new, short operatic work, that prompted Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945) to compose "Cavalleria Rusticana" ("Rustic Chivalry", 1890); and, duly, the success of that work prompted Ruggerio Leoncavallo (1858-1919) to compose "I Pagliacci" (1892).
These two operas, are very much works of that particular phraseology, that Italian opera had moved into during the Late 19C : "Verismo", or Realism. Authors who took Verismo as their starting point, used the very real world as it stood outside their doors for inspiration, with no other justification than that it existed. And, audiences today find these two operas, "as gripping as the pages of a chronicle, as shocking as a murder, and as popular as old songs", according to the well-respected critic Lorenzo Arruga.
Disc One : Cavalleria Rusticana, by Mascagni :-
1) Preludio (2:31) ; 2)-20) Single Act (71:30).
Disc Two : I Pagliacci, by Leoncavallo :-
1) Prologo (7:44) ; 2)-5) Act I Scene I (12:25) ; 6)-16) Act I Scene II (33:38) ; 17) Act II "Ohe! Presto!" (3:51) ; 18)-24) Act II "The Play" (17:54).
(includes 96-page booklet, with : descriptions of the two operas' origins ; synopses ; and full librettos in English & Italian)
Both Discs are in EX- condition.