13 March 2001 | williamweiss
A brilliant film
"Cavalleria Rusticana" reflects a timeless Sicilian conflict between love and honor, justice and violence. Mascagni's opera also has a conflict: a truly ugly theme with some of the most beautiful music ever written and performed in opera. Zefferelli's production does justice to all sides. It's not staged--instead, it's filmed on location in Sicily, which adds greatly to the power and beauty of the story and performances. Zefferelli is almost the equal of Francis Coppola in his fanatical attention to detail and to quality. The Easter procession, "Ineggiamo il Signore e Risorto," combines a cast of hundreds in late 19th century period costume with some of the most awesome music in opera to create a scene of transcendent power and authenticity--I bet the procession is performed just that way, every year, in the town that Zefferelli filmed (trust him to find it). Placido Domingo is in splendid voice as Turiddu, and Elena Obratszova sings Santuzza in a steely, authoritative soprano. She's supported by the great Fedora Barbieri as Mamma Lucia. This is a peerless, definitive production of a great opera experience that never fails to move me.