|Libretto:||G. Menasci and G. Targioni-Tozzetti, based on a story of G. Verga|
|Premiere:||Rome, May 17, 1890|
A phenomenally successful drama of betrayal and retribution, Cavalleria Rusticana made the 26-year-old Mascagni an overnight sensation. As the story begins, Sicilian villagers make their way to church on a balmy Easter morning. Santuzza appears, distraught that her lover Turiddu has betrayed her with Lola, his first love, who is now married to the teamster Alfio. She pours out her desperation to Mamma Lucia, Turiddu's mother, and vainly attempts to persuade Turiddu to return. But he shuns her to follow Lola, and Santuzza blurts out to Alfio the tale of his wife's deception. At this moment, destiny prevails, as Sicilian honor requires Alfio to redeem his honor with the stiletto, and the guilty Turiddu must submit to his fate.