Cavalleria rusticana / Aleko

Mascagni / Rachmaninov

15 February - 22 March 2024

This event has passed.

Enjoy twice the thrill with this red-blooded double bill. 

Known as the opera that invented the mafia, Cavalleria rusticana tells the tale of a soldier who returns from war to find his lover has married. He takes revenge by seducing another woman, even though his obsessive desire for his first love simmers. This powder keg of passion is primed to ignite in the midst of a small community that lives under the strict eye of the church.   

After the interval, Aleko finds his lover in the arms of a younger man, sparking red-hot jealousy… 

This high-octane double bill double bill contains some of opera’s most beautiful music, from Rachmaninov’s potent melodies to the famous Intermezzo featured in The Godfather Part III. 

“An ingenious staging… wonderfully unhinged… stonking chorus singing”
★★★★ — The Times

“This is potent stuff… unstoppable, soul-shuddering passion”
★★★★ — The Telegraph

“An electrifying double bill”
★★★★ — The Guardian

“…thrillingly sung…”
★★★★ — The Stage

From £16*

Running time
Cavalleria rusticana: 1 hour 10 minutes
Interval: 30 minutes
Aleko: 1 hour

Sung in Italian (Cavalleria rusticana) and Russian (Aleko), both with English subtitles

Age guidance
12+, please note this production contains depictions of violence, murder and suicidal references

Audio described performances

Buy your programme in advance
Printed (£8.50 including postage)

Save with…
Season Ticket Packages
Under 30s membership
New to opera discounts

*Prices vary by venue. Booking fees may apply.


Now open from Tuesday to Saturday, Kino is our restaurant and bar located in Leeds on New Briggate, presenting the best independent food, wine and beer.

For pre-show dining we recommend booking no later than 90 minutes before the start of the performance.


Turiddù is the son of Lucia, who runs the village shop. He was dating Lola, but she eventually married another man, Alfio. Angered by this, Turiddù seduced Santuzza, a very religious girl. But Turiddù is still in love with Lola, and she, disillusioned with her new marriage, misses him as well. 

On Easter Sunday morning, Santuzza visits Lucia to confront her about Turiddù’s behaviour. Alfio arrives with his newly acquired car – the only taxi in the village. Santuzza tells Lucia of her betrayal by Turiddù, and the community assembles to celebrate the Easter Mass.

Santuzza confronts Turiddù over his affair with Lola, which he angrily denies. But when Lola arrives, Turiddù can’t help but join her, leaving Santuzza alone. Consumed by rage and grief, Santuzza tells Alfio about his wife’s affair with Turiddù. Alfio swears vengeance. At the end of the service, the people leave the church. Turiddù challenges Alfio and then offers him a drink, which Alfio refuses, claiming it would turn to poison inside him.

Overwhelmed by guilt, Turiddù realizes how badly he has hurt Alfio, Lola, Santuzza and his mother. He asks Lucia for forgiveness, and meets his fate.

A bohemian community in the 1990s

An old man tells a story: long ago, he loved a woman who left him for another man, leaving behind their daughter, Zemfira. Zemfira is now grown up and married to a man who came in from outside their community, Aleko.

Hearing the story, Aleko is outraged that Zemfira’s father took no revenge. Zemfira disagrees. For her, just like her mother and all her community, love is free. Frustrated with Aleko’s jealousy, she becomes drawn to a younger man, one of her own people.

Haunted by memories of the past, Aleko becomes more and more psychotic and tensions between him and Zemfira escalate. Alone, he broods on his failed relationship.

As dawn comes, Aleko sees Zemfira and her new lover together, and in rage he kills them both. Led by Zemfira’s father, the community spares Aleko’s life but casts him out forever.


Audio introduction

This audio introduction gives detailed information about the story, the sets and costumes, the cast list, and the dates and venues of the performances.

It is to aid customers who are blind or partially sighted. Please note, the story and the details of the sets and costumes contain spoilers, so avoid them if you would prefer not to know what happens!

A large print transcript of the audio introduction is available to download.


Cavalleria rusticana

Giselle Allen


A man in a hoodie looking up while leaning against a wall.
Andrés Presno


Robert Hayward


A woman with short dark hait.
Anne-Marie Owens


Helen Évora



Robert Hayward


Elin Pritchard


A man in a hoodie looking up while leaning against a wall.
Andrés Presno

A Lover

A woman with short dark hait.
Anne-Marie Owens

A Woman

Matthew Stiff

Zemfira’s father


Antony Hermus

Conductor (EXC. 13 AND 15 MAR)

Harry Sever

Conductor (13 AND 15 MAR)

A woman with blonde hair and glasses.
Karolina Sofulak


A man with cropped hair wearing a black shirt.
Charles Edwards

Set & Lighting Designer

Gabrielle Dalton

Costume Designer

A man with a light beard wearing a t-shirt.
Tim Claydon

Movement Director

Cavalleria rusticana / Aleko

Search our site