“Muti’s forces provided all the passion imaginable, yet never descended into sensation or vulgarity. One basked in the idiomatic italianata of it all. This was the most beautiful orchestral performance in memory of Mascagni’s seminal score.” — Opera News
“CSO, Riccardo Muti, soloists triumph. An utterly superlative offering in every way.” — Chicago Sun-Times
“Riccardo Muti lights the fuse to music that is already on fire.” — Corriere della Sera
“A performance for the ages.” — Chicago on the Aisle
Riccardo Muti leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Chorus and a cast of outstanding soloists in Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana. As an opera, Cavalleria rusticana is one of the most enduring works for the stage, and its extraordinary popularity has never waned. This exquisite concert performance from February 2020 vividly captures the unforgettable cut of its melodies, the intoxicating colors of its Sicilian atmosphere and the urgent, heart-racing pace of its drama, which has few equals in the repertoire.
The entire ensemble, featuring the notable portrayal of Santuzza by mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili, captures all the emotion and nuance of Mascagni’s opera as it hurtles toward its inevitable catastrophe — the celebrated Intermezzo offering the only moment of respite.
Cavalleria rusticana marks the first CSO Resound release to be available in Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos® format.
In the early part of its history, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was in the pit for an astonishing number of operas, including nearly 50 performances of Cavalleria rusticana. The orchestra’s founding music director, Theodore Thomas, conducted the Intermezzo on the second program the orchestra ever played on Oct. 19, 1891. Riccardo Muti, world-renowned for his superlative interpretations of Italian operas, reunites the orchestral prowess of the CSO with the work — which it had not performed in its entirety since 1931 — in this definitive 21st-century performance certain to stand the test of time.
ABOUT THE CSO: A musical force in Chicago and around the world, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is consistently hailed as one of the finest international orchestras. Its expansive catalog of recordings has earned 63 Grammy Awards.
MASCAGNI Cavalleria rusticana
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Riccardo Muti conductor
Anita Rachvelishvili Santuzza
Piero Pretti Turiddu
Luca Salsi Alfio
Ronnita Miller Mama Lucia
Sasha Cooke Lola
Alessandra Visconti Screaming woman
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe director
Producer: Charlie Post
Recording engineer: Charlie Post
Editing and mixing: Charlie Post
Mastering: Silas Brown, Legacy Sound
Recorded: February 2020, Orchestra Hall, Chicago
Released: Sept. 16, 2022