Santuzza: Janara Kellerman (1)(3), Mezzo-soprano; Carol Lin (2), Mezzo-soprano; Louise Kwong (4), Soprano
Turriddu: John Daniecki (2)(3), Tenor; Jeffrey Hartman (1)(4), Tenor
Alfio: Grant Youngblood (2)(3), Baritone; Brian Montgomery (1)(4), Baritone
Lola: Melody Sze, Mezzo-soprano
Lucia: Cynthia Luff, Mezzo-soprano
Nedda: Kristin Sampson (1)(3), Soprano; Yuki Ip (2)(4), Soprano
Canio: John Daniecki (1)(4), Tenor; Jeffrey Hartman (2)(3), Tenor
Tonio: Grant Youngblood (1)(4), Baritone; Brian Montgomery (2)(3), Baritone
Beppe: Alex Tam (1)(3)(4), Tenor; Christopher Leung (2), Tenor
Silvio: Nicholas Provenzale, Baritone
Performances (1): 4 Jan; (2): 5 Jan at 2:45pm; (3): 5 Jan at 7:45pm; (4): 6 Jan
Chorus of The Opera Society of Hong Kong
Chorusmaster: Raymond Fu
The story is set in a Sicilian village around 1890. On Easter morning, Turiddu is heard singing about his beloved, Lola, who is now married to the merchant-carter, Alfio. Santuzza, a young woman who has been seduced and impregnated by Turiddu, arrives at the tavern of his mother, Lucia. Santuzza is desperate because of her heavy sense of guilt. The dialogue of the women is interrupted by the entrance of Alfio. Despite his outspoken pride and affection for his wife, Alfio also becomes suspicious of Turiddu's relationship with Lola. While the villagers are attending mass, Santuzza encounters Turiddu. She confronts him and hopes to win him back. However, all is in vain. Not only does Turiddu forsake her, she is also mocked by Lola who passes by. Santuzza curses Turiddu as he enters church after Lola. Out of rage and jealousy, Santuzza revenges by revealing the affair to Alfio.
The action is suspended by the idyllic Intermezzo. After the mass, Turiddu and the villagers gather for wine at the tavern. Alfio's refusal to drink with Turridu provokes a challenge to a duel of knives. According to a long tradition of rustic chivalry, Turiddu takes the initiative with an embrace and a bite on Alfio's right ear, meaning the two shall fight till death. Turiddu bids an impassioned farewell to his mother and asks her to take care of Santuzza if he does not return. As the duel takes place in a nearby orchard, Mamma Lucia and Santuzza wait anxiously. Blood-curdling shouts are heard in the distance. A woman stumbles in, crying "Turiddu has been killed."
Prologue. The story takes places on the Feast of Assumption in a Calabrian village in southern Italy around 1870. Before the curtain rises, the actor Tonio delivers a prologue, telling the audience they will see a real-life drama.
Act I. The curtain rises with the arrival of a troupe of traveling actors, greeted enthusiastically by the village folk. Canio, the head of the troupe, describes that night's offering. When someone jokingly suggests that Tonio is secretly attracted to his young wife, Nedda, he vehemently cautions that he will tolerate no such thing. As Canio takes off with fellow actor Beppe to join the villagers in a tavern, Nedda is left alone. Worried that Canio might soon discover her affair with Silvio, one of the villagers, she sings of her longing for freedom. Tonio sneaks in and tries to make love to Nedda. She scorns him and repels him with a whip. Tonio leaves, swearing vengeance. Silvio arrives and persuades Nedda to elope with him at midnight. The rendezvous is seen by Tonio, who seizes the chance to break the news to Canio. The enraged husband bursts in, Silvio escapes in time and Nedda is threatened at knifepoint to reveal her lover's name, but she adamantly refuses. Tonio advises Canio to catch Nedda's lover in the evening. As Canio dons his costume and makeup for the play, he expresses his bitterness for the life of a clown - he must laugh although his heart is breaking.
Act II. As night falls, the villagers eagerly anticipate the featured comedy, Pagliaccio e Colombina. In the absence of her husband, Pagliaccio (Canio), Colombina (Nedda) dismisses her servant, Taddeo (Tonio) and sets the table for dinner with her lover Arlecchino (Beppe). Pagliaccio returns home unexpectedly and Arlecchino escapes through the window. Taddeo mockingly assures Pagliaccio of his wife's innocence. The parallels between Pagliaccio and himself fuel Canio's jealousy to no end. No longer playing the comedy, Canio demands that Nedda reveal her lover's name. Despite Nedda's futile effort to continue playing her part, Canio's blood-thirsted demeanor can no longer be restrained. He stabs Nedda and then Silvio, who has revealed himself from the crowd and tries to intervene. The audience, who has previously marvelled at the realism of the play, is left dumbfounded as Canio cries out "the comedy is ended."