Photo Journal: Neo-Verismo at New York City Opera

Classic Arts News   Photo Journal: Neo-Verismo at New York City Opera
Think about it — What is Italian neo-realism if not verismo transferred to postwar cinema? Alternatively, what is verismo if not the Italian neo-realism of the 1890s, only on the opera stage?

(Not convinced? Kathleen Watts considers the realism in this article, while James McCourt makes a direct comparison between operatic and cinematic acting in this essay. On the other hand, Gérard Mortier says that verisimilitude in opera is a contradiction in terms ... )

The idea of verismo-as-neo-realism gets put to the test by director Stephen Lawless in his new production for New York City Opera of Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci, verismo's classic double-bill. The action in both operas has been updated to 1940s Italy, with such films as Visconti's Obsession and Rossellini's Rome, Open City serving as inspiration. (See for yourself in the photos below.)

City Opera music director George Manahan conducts a talented young cast headed by Brandon Jovanovich, Anna Maria Chiuri and Andrew Oakden in Cav and Carl Tanner and Maria Kanyova in Pag. Several new cast members step in for the final four performances, Oct. 19-27.

For more information on Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci, as well as on the rest of New York City Opera's 2007-08 season, visit

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All photos by Carol Rosegg.

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