Cavalleria rusticana - Synopsis

It is Easter morning in a Sicilian village. Before the curtain rises, a tenor voice is heard in the distance singing a Siciliana. Santuzza, a young woman of the parish, comes to see Mamma Lucia, proprietress of the inn that faces the church. Santuzza is looking for Mamma Lucia’s son, Turiddu, who had been courting her until recently. Alfio appears bragging about his life of travel and Lola, the pretty wife he is coming home to. Mamma Lucia asks Santuzza the reason for the secrecy about Turiddu’s whereabouts. Santuzza reminds her that Turiddu, who was in love with Lola before he joined the army, returned home and has resumed his affair with Lola, without the knowledge of her husband whose business often takes him out of town. Turiddu, on his way to church, is surprised to meet Santuzza. He tries to avoid a scene, but she is insistent: what was he doing near Lola’s house when he was supposed to be in Francofonte? The angry Turiddu rejects Santuzza’s increasingly hysterical pleas not to abandon her. At this moment, the appearance of Alfio seems providential to the distraught Santuzza, who tells him plainly that Lola has been unfaithful to him with Turiddu. Alfio swears revenge, and Santuzza immediately regrets having told him. She has only hastened the inevitability of losing Turiddu. The people come out of the church. Turiddu urges everyone to have wine and exchanges toasts with Lola. Alfio appears but when Turiddu offers him wine, the carter says it might be poisoned. Sensing trouble, the neighbors draw back as Turiddu and Alfio exchange the few words that constitute a challenge to a duel, and Turiddu gives Alfio the ritual bite on the ear. The contrite Turiddu now has a moment alone with his mother. He says that she must look after Santuzza if anything happens to him. Then he rushes away. The alarmed Mamma Lucia quickly realizes that something is wrong, but before she can follow Turiddu, neighbors rush in, crying that he has been killed.
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