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Mezzo​Cav & Pagliacci

Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni, libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci Pagliacci with music and libretto by Ruggero Leoncavallo

Iford Arts, in association with Opera Ensemble, present perhaps the most famous operatic double-bill of all time, ‘cav and pag’ will be presented by iford arts for the first time in its 27 year history.

Aug 28/29/30
Belcombe Bradford on Avon, BA15 1LZ
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Sung in Italian
with English surtitles

In the great double-acts of history, Cav and Pag feature high in cultural reference. Two unconnected operas that were first brought together by the Met in New York in 1893, they are nevertheless from the same stable of operatic genre – verismo, or ‘real life’. These operas found huge popularity in the late 19th and early 20th century and focus on the mundane yet murderous lives and proclivities of simple folk. 

Pietro Mascagni broke through with Cavalleria Rusticana, a one act opera that he entered into the annual competition run by the publisher Sonzogno. It brought fame and fortune that he was never truly able to escape or move on from entirely with his later works, many of which were stupendously inventive and beautiful. ‘They crowned me before I was king,’ he once said.  The opera tells a powerful tale of love, jealousy and betrayal in a Sicilian village, during which savagery and violence is set to exquisite, heartbreaking music.  Our concert performance of the highlights from the opera will deliver outstanding singing and some of the most beautiful melodies in the late Italian repertoire, including the immensely moving Easter Hymn, and one of the worlds most famous pieces of music – the Intermezzo.

Susan Bullock - among the foremost and internationally successful modern British sopranos of recent times - leads the concert ensemble which also features baritone, Paul Carey Jones and tenor Christopher Turner; three exemplary artists to open a thrilling evening of music.

Pagliacci, the story of a troupe of clowns indulging libido and  crushing betrayal is another of the pure verismo classics of the repertoire. The opera is most famous for the Vesti la giubba aria (On with the motley) in which cuckolded clown Canio takes his revenge during the ‘play within a play’;a devastating denouement that sits among the most dramatic in the entire repertoire. This production, in partnership with Opera Ensemble, has enjoyed great success as a powerful, visceral and paired back production. For our version, we have added an orchestra, conducted by Oliver Gooch, and chorus. The opera stars one of the UK’s most exciting sopranos, Elin Pritchard as Nedda, and she is joined by tenor Peter Auty as her tortured husband. Robert Hayward, Nic Lester, and Aled Hall complete the all-star ensemble. 

The double-bill represents an extraordinary and atmospheric evening of music and drama, with some of the finest singers around today.  As a summer evening treat, it is likely to be deeply affecting and unforgettable.

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MezzoCav Concert

Oliver Gooch
Susan Bullock, OBE
Christopher Turner
Paul Carey Jones
Iford Arts Festival Chorus

Pagliacci Production

Christopher Luscombe
Oliver Gooch
Elin Pritchard
Peter Auty
Robert Hayward
Nicholas Lester
Aled Hall
Michael Ronan, Laurie Slavin, Dafydd Allen,
Joshua Baxter, Caroline Carragher, Fiona Finsbury, Lauren McQuistin, Gemma Morsley


£95.00 (undercover)

£79.00 - £49.00 (under the stars)

Gates open at 5.00pm for picnics.

Performances start at 7pm. There will be a 30 minute interval. End approx. 9.45pm

General Booking from 19 April 2021 at 10am

Information on Priority Booking 

Under 18s go free enquire at Box Office

Performances will take place in a spectacular Saddlespan structure. With its simple architectural design and clean modern shape the Saddlespan offers amazing acoustics. This indoor/outdoor structure allows the ability to accommodate a larger socially distanced audience in a safe environment.