Dutch National Opera presents

Pagliacci - Cavalleria rusticana RUGGERO LEONCAVALLO (1857-1919) / PIETRO MASCAGNI (1863-1945)

This show was to been seen in September 2019

Theatre or real life

Duration 3:00

Breaks 1


Language Italian

Surtitles Dutch and English

The duo Pagliacci and Cavalleria rusticana is one of the most famous double bills in the history of opera. Packed with love, infidelity, betrayal, jealousy and murder, these two pinnacles of the Italian opera repertoire have it all. With a world-class star cast.

Cavalleria rusticana
Cavalleria rusticana
Cavalleria rusticana
Cavalleria rusticana

Conductor Lorenzo Viotti will be making his debut with Dutch National Opera earlier than planned, replacing Sir Mark Elder in the verismo double bill Pagliacci / Cavalleria rusticana. Mark Elder has had to cancel the production to undergo neck surgery. Of the eight performances of Pagliacci / Cavalleria rusticana in September 2019, Viotti will conduct six performances on 5, 8, 11, 18, 21 and 28 September 2019. The performances on 15 and 24 September will be conducted by Aldert Vermeulen, assistant conductor at Dutch National Opera.



Pagliacci (‘Comedians’) and Cavalleria rusticana (‘Rustic chivalry’) are both classic examples of verismo operas, telling so-called realistic stories about the lives of ordinary people. Here, hot-headed southern temperaments spark off rivalries and threaten relationships. Whereas Pagliacci is fuelled by the tension between everyday life and the aesthetic world of the stage, Cavalleria rusticana juxtaposes unbridled passion with profound faith. Director Robert Carsen flips tradition by opening with Pagliacci.

Trailer Pagliacci / Cavalleria rusticana
Aria Santuzza door Anita Rachvelishvili
Interview Lorenzo Viotti
Interview met dirigent Lorenzo Viotti bij Pag/Cav (sep 2019)


Robert Carsen

Director Robert Carsen made waves in Amsterdam and beyond with Dialogues des Carmélites, Fidelio, Carmen (returning this season) and Falstaff, and also set the stage for Dutch National Opera’s 50th anniversary Gala.

We are the drama

Carsen plays a masterful game of theatre-in-theatre, calling into question the nature of reality. Are the emotions we see on stage acted, or authentic? And in how far do we project ourselves into the characters? When the masks come off, truth becomes theatre and theatre becomes truth. Poised somewhere in between is the chorus, navigating us through the worlds of fact and fiction. As the playwright Luigi Pirandello once said, ‘The drama is inside us; we are the drama’. Carsen’s vision eschews clichés: no commedia dellarte characters in this Pagliacci, nor Sicilian couleur locale in his Cavalleria rusticana.


    Mon 09 Sep Pag/Cav - Bachtrack**** 2019

    “It was an exciting night at the opera.”

    Mon 09 Sep Pag/Cav in Trouw***** 2019

    "'Cav/Pag' is opera-in-opera with a lot of ingenuity."

    Mon 09 Sep Pag/Cav in de Volkskrant 2019 ****

    "Dutch National Opera opens the new season with a powerful and interesting performance"; "a glorious debut of the maestro [Lorenzo Viotti], less than thirty years old"; "This double bill will satisfy both lovers of traditional opera and those who are in favour of thoughtful scenes, and has given Dutch National Opera a powerful and interesting opening ... .

    Mon 09 Sep Pag/Cav in NRC**** 2019

    "In Pagliacci / Cavalleria Rusticana, Carsen once again is convincing with a strong concept, beautiful images and details that immediately sharpen the relationships between them."

    Mon 09 Sep Lorenzo Viotti's debuut in Pag/Cav - NRC**** 2019

    "Operachef Viotti debuts in great sung and directed 'Pagliacci/Cavalleria Rusticana'"; "Promising debut".

    Tue 05 Feb Robert Carsen - Het Parool 2015

    "Dialogues des Carmélites by Poulenc and director Robert Carsen, performed by Dutch National Opera, is truly a miracle of God. (...) Very strong and rarely intelligent.'

    Tue 05 Feb Robert Carsen - NRC about Il Trittico, 1996

    "As Carsen, in particular, has proven over the past few years, directing is mainly about intellectual and dramaturgical preliminary work: developing a vision of the action and, together with the set designer, finding images to give shape to it."

Robert Carsen


With Dutch National Opera, the Canadian director Robert Carsen has staged Dialogues des Carmélites, Fidelio, Carmen and Falstaff.

Lorenzo Viotti

chief conductor as of 2021 - 2022

(5, 8, 11, 18, 21 and 28 september) The new chief conductor of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Dutch National Opera as of season 2021 - 2022

Aldert Vermeulen

assistant conductor

(15 and 24 september)

'Dramma' in 2 acts

Ruggero Leoncavallo

World premiere
21 May 1892
Teatro Dal Verme

Cavalleria rusticana
'Melodramma' in 1 act

Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti
and Guido Menasci

World premiere
17 May 1890
Teatro Costanzi

Team, Cast and Chorus

Musical Director
Lorenzo Viotti (5, 8, 11, 18, 21 and 28 September)
Aldert Vermeulen (15 and 24 September)
Stage Director
Robert Carsen
Set Designer
Radu Boruzescu
Costume Designer
Annemarie Woods
Lighting Designer
Robert Carsen
Peter Van Praet
Ian Burton
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Dutch National Opera Chorus
Chorus Master
Ching-Lien Wu
Children's Chorus
Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor
Children's Chorus Master
Anaïs de la Morandais
Roman Burdenko
Ailyn Pérez
Brandon Jovanovich
Roman Burdenko
Marco Ciaponi
Roman Burdenko
Anita Rachvelishvili
Rihab Chaieb
Brian Jagde
Roman Burdenko
Elena Zilio


Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra

The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra has been the principal partner of Dutch National Opera for more than 30 years and is among the world's best opera orchestras.The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam is the orchestra’s primary venue. Besides programmes led by chief conductor Marc Albrecht and Gordan Nicolic (musical director of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra), it also has various collaborations with internationally renowned guest conductors and soloists, as well as budding stars of the next generation of musicians. The orchestra seeks to make the classical repertoire accessible to everyone, performing not only in concert halls but also a range of unusual and more adventurous venues. By bringing people together through music, the orchestra creates beautiful and memorable musical experiences for all, from classical aficionados to new audiences. With its home base in the NedPhO-Koepel, a former church in Amsterdam's culturally diverse Indische Buurt, the orchestra plays a vital role in the community. Each year it organises some two hundred activities around music education, neighbourhood participation and talent development. In the 2019-2020 season, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra is playing in the DNO productions of Pagliacci I Cavalleria rusticana, Die Walküre, Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny and Die Frau ohne Schatten. The Netherlands Chamber Orchestra is playing in Così fan tutte and La Cenerentola.



Chorus of Dutch National Opera

Dutch National Opera's own chorus consists of 50 singers, regularly augmented with freelance members for large productions. The Chorus has an impressive record with milestones including opera productions of Saint Francois dAssise, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, Ercole amante, Boris Godoenov, La Juive, Les Troyens, Eugene Onegin, Parsifal, Guillaume Tell, The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh, Faust, La forza del destino, Das Flos der Medusa, Oedipe and Tannhauser, and concerts of Der fliegende Hollander in Rotterdam, Paris and Dortmund and Daphnis et Chloe with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev. Under the artistic direction of Ching-Lien Wu since 1 September 2014, in 2016 the authoritative Opernwelt magazine named the DNO Chorus the Best Opera Chorus of the year. In the 2019-2020 season the Chorus is singing in Pagliacci |Cavalleria rusticana, Così fan tutte, La Cenerentola, Nabucco, Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, Die Frau ohne Schatten, Carmen and Rusalka.


Children's chorus

Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor

The Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor is the regular children's chorus of Dutch National Opera & Ballet and part of Nieuw Vocal Amsterdam, a classical voice training programme for ages 4 to 21. In the 2019-2020 season the Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor is singing in the operas Pagliacci |Cavalleria rusticana, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Carmen and the ballet Nutcracker & Mouse King. The chorus also will be performing during the Open Day and Children's Chorus Festival.