Photo by Karli Cadel

Cavalleria rusticana | Pagliacci

A play within a play is the play. 


Turiddu returns from war to find his love, Lola, married to another. In a scheme to induce jealousy, he seduces Santuzza. As swiftly as she is beguiled, Santuzza is discarded while Turiddu begins an affair with his old flame. After the conclusion of Easter mass, passions erupt and expose the ugliness of jealousy. With stirring melodies as iconic as the story, Cavalleria rusticana reveals the consequences of infidelity and the lengths we might go to for revenge.


The passions of ordinary people take center stage in Leoncavallo’s classic verismo tale of resentment and possession. Drama seeps into the fabric of a small traveling theater troupe led by Canio and his wife, Nedda. When his suspicions of Nedda’s affair are confirmed, Canio must put on a smile and entertain despite his broken heart. Numb to the ugliness of their world, the audience is left to interpret whether the plot before them is theater or reality.

Saturday, September 23, 2023 | 7:30 pm
Friday, September 29, 2023 | 7:30 pm
Sunday, October 1, 2023 | 2:00 pm


Pietro Mascagni*
Ruggero Leoncavallo^

Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci*
Ruggero Leoncavallo^

CONDUCTOR Roberto Kalb

DIRECTOR Shawna Lucey

Understand every word: Performed in Italian with English subtitles.

Principal Cast


Santuzza, Samantha Hankey





Turiddu, Adam Smith





Alfio, Gevorg Hakobyan






Canio, Diego Torre

Nedda, Gabriella Reyes





Tonio, Gevorg Hakobyan

Creative Team

Conductor, Roberto Kalb
Mexican-born conductor Roberto Kalb makes 2022-2023 season debuts with San Francisco Opera, Ópera de Bellas Artes, and San Diego Opera. Last season marked a debut with Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier, a return to Wolf Trap Opera (La traviata) and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis for the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s Awakenings. In 2019, Kalb concluded his five-season tenure as resident conductor and head of music at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis with a critically acclaimed run of Rigoletto. Highlights include productions at Detroit Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Tulsa Opera, Kentucky Opera, and Opera Maine. Kalb is a recipient of the 2021 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award.

Director, Shawna Lucey

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