Cavalleria Rusticana, World premiere: Teatro Costanzi, Rome, 1890. Met company premiere: Chicago (on tour), December 4, 1891.
Pagliacci, World premiere: Teatro dal Verme, Milan, 1892. Met premiere: December 11, 1893.
Two tales of passion, jealousy, and death set in southern Italy, Cav/Pag have been all but inseparable on the opera stages of the world since the Met first presented them as a double bill in 1893. The overwhelming success of Cavalleria was crucial in launching the verismo movement, inspiring other composers (including Leoncavallo) to turn to stories and characters from real life, and often from society’s grungier elements.