Cavalleria Rusticana is the short opera that has all the elements of a grand opera compressed into a single highly dramatic time span. The story of love, lust, blood-feud, and betrayal played out against the pageantry of the Easter celebrations in a Sicilian village delivers an emotional wallop because of the youthful vigor and musical wealth of its great score which includes the glorious "Easter Hymn" and the deeply moving "Intermezzo". Mascagni was never to repeat his youthful success but this brief work is enough to ensure his immortality.
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