Novel point of view for popular Mascagni opera

“I hope to sing as if it were the last time, because it could very well be…» said Agnes Baltsa at a press conference earlier this week. The renowned Greek mezzo-soprano takes the role of Santuzza, in «Cavaleria Rusticana,» at the Athens Concert Hall, beginning this Sunday, October 31, with additional performances on November 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6. «This is a new chapter for Mascagni’s work,» said the production’s German director, Grisha Asagaroff, who in the past has collaborated closely with the Zurich Opera, the Vienna State Opera and the Athens Concert Hall (1991, 1993 and 1995). «There are a number of changes regarding the characters, how things are placed. It’s a completely different point of view…» «Cavaleria Rusticana» has met with unexpected success since it premiered on May 17, 1890 at the Constanzi Theater in Rome (as an entry in a composition competition), surprising even its creator. The opera’s story takes place in a society where honor reigns above all and where forgiveness appears least likely. Turridu’s love adventures unfold in a picturesque Sicilian village on Easter Sunday, where the locals are about to witness a passionate love story, ripe with jealousy and infidelity. «I interpret a woman who destroys and gets destroyed; vocally it’s a very demanding,» noted Baltsa. «I’m very proud to go on stage in such a concert hall in Greece.» Alternating with Baltsa in the role of Santuzza is prominent Italian mezzo-soprano Giovanna Casolla. Also at the press conference, set designer Nikos Petropoulos talked about the production’s costumes and set design: «We set the opera in the 1930s; the atmosphere is very Italian cinema. There are lots of contrasts and no elements of folklore. We came up with a new Cavaleria…» At the Athens Concert Hall, the Athens State Orchestra will be conducted by Antonello Allemandi, while the National Opera’s choir will be led by Fani Palamidi. Besides Baltsa, the rest of the cast includes Luis Lima, Alberto Cupido, Alexandru Agache, Valeriy Murga, Irini Karayianni, Mary-Elen Nezer and Alexandra Papadjiakou. The movement direction was carried out by Petros Gallia while the lighting was developed by Sergio Rossi. Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali & Vas. Sofias, tel 210.728.2000. For reservations, call 210.728.2150 or via the Internet on