Cavalleria Rusticana

“If you liked the music in the movie “Godfather” you will love this.”

(If you hear music while viewing this page, it’s the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana in a synthesized transcription.  If you don’t hear any music, don’t worry about it.)

Who can afford to see opera in Chicago?  Everyone can!  See below.

Cavallería Rusticana

             By Pietro Mascagni


49th season produced by the

Lithuanian Opera of Chicago

Sunday, April 24, 2005  3PM

Morton Auditorium

2401 S. Austin Blvd.

Cicero, IL

For information: (773) 925-6193

or visit


“Worth seeing in Chicago”,

“Lithuanian Opera in Chicago – a well kept secret”


Full stage production with chorus, orchestra, soloists (from USA and Europe)

Tickets $20 – $50




maestro Alvydas Vasaitis in rehearsal

Lithuanian Opera of Chicago (49th season)


A melodrama in one act:  Cavalleria Rusticana (Rustic Chivalry)

by:  Pietro Mascagni

Performers of the opera:

Santuzza – soprano         Nida Grigalavičiūtė

Lola – mezzo soprano    Genovaitė Bigenytė

Turiddu – tenor                 Vytautas Kurnickas (Lithuania)

Alfio – baritone                 Eugenijus Vasilevskis (Lithuania)

Lucia – contralto               Laima Domikaitė (Lithuania)

conductor –          Alvydas Vasaitis

stage director –    Eligijus Domarkas (Lithuania)

chorusmasters:         Manigirdas Motekaitis

Jūratė Grabliauskienė

orchestra:  Lithuanian Opera of Chicago orchestra

when and where:

Sunday,  April 24, 2005 at 3 PM  (ONE PERFORMANCE ONLY)

Morton Auditorium

2401 S. Austin Blvd.

Cicero, IL


Tickets and information:

Vaclovas Momkus (Chairman of the Board)

3222 W. 66th Place

Chicago, IL 60629

tel. (773) 925-6193

Ramunė Račkauskas (Community Outreach)

10425 S. Kenton

Oak Lawn, IL 60453

tel. (708) 425-4266

(Ticket Order form at bottom of page)


NIDA GRIGALAVIČIŪTĖMs. Grigalavičiūtė sings the role of Santuzza for the 49th season of the Lithuanian Opera production of Cavalleria Rusticana.  A talented singer, she is a recent arrival to the USA and resides in the Chicagoland area.  She has sung several other significant roles with the Lithuanian Opera of Chicago, most notably the roles of Oscar in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, and Micaela in Bizet’s Carmen,  always to great acclaim.  She has sung many other roles in both operas and operettas here and in Europe.  She is currently pursuing an active vocal artistic career.

NIDA  GRIGALAVICIŪTĖ. Soprano, was born in Klaipėda, Lithuania.  She graduated from the Klaipėda Conservatory of Music with specialties in choir conducting and voice.  That same year she began her career as a soloist at the Klaipėda Musical Theater.  Among her roles were Serafina in Donizetti‘s “La Campanella“, Elvyra in Rossini‘s “L‘Italiana“, Odete in Kalman‘s “Die Bajadere“, Rosemari in Friml‘s “Rosemari”, Valensiana in Lehar’s “Merry Widow”, Rosina in Rossini’s “Barber of Seville”, Micaela in Bizet’s “Carmen”, Oscar in Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera”. In 1997 she received the prestigious “Kristoforas” award for her role of Rosina in the “Barber of Seville”.  Ms. Grigalavičiūtė performs frequently as soloist with many Lithuanian ensembles, including the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra..  She has also performed with the Kaliningrad Symphony, as well as the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra (under S. Sondeckis),  She has concertized extensively in many countries including Poland, Germany, Russia, and Switzerland.  She currently resides in the United States.


Coming appearance Sunday, April 24, 2005

as Turiddu (tenor) in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana

with the Lithuanian Opera of Chicago

VYTAUTAS KURNICKASMr. Vytautas Kurnickas makes his American debut with the Lithuanian Opera of Chicago as Turiddu in Mascagni’a Cavalleria Rusticana.  He is a leading tenor on the Lithuanian operatic stage in Europe.  He had been engaged at the music theaters in Kaunas and Klaipeda before making his debut with the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theater (LNOBT) in 1994.  Here he created over 20 roles in various LNOBT’s productions.  It is said that as a singer he has reached the pinnacle of his artistic maturity.  His portrayal of spinto tenor roles such as Hermann in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, Don Jose in Bizet’s Carmen, Calaf in Puccini’s Turandot, Ricardo in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, has been described as a “dream list” for spinto tenors.  He says that everything is attained through diligent and thorough work.  As a result, his impersonations leave a moving and long lasting impression on public and critics alike.  He reveals outstanding vocal and artistic abilities.  But it is not generally known that he finds relief from daily operatic routines in musical composition. He is the author of nine published collections of songs, performed in concerts and competitions by many singers.  His appearance in this year’s production of Cavalleria Rusticana with the Lithuanian Opera of Chicago is eagerly anticipated.

VASILEVSKISA soloist with the LNOBT since 1977, he is the recipient of the “Kristoforas” award, bestowed by the Lithuanian Theatre Association, and the honorary designation of the Lithuanian Grand Duke, Gediminas. His current repertoire includes: Germont (La Traviata), Marquis of Posa (Don Carlos), Valentin (Faust), Nabucco (Nabucco), Amonasro (Aida), Scarpia (Tosca), Lindorf, Coppélius, Miracle and Dapertutto (Les contes d’Hoffmann), Alfio (Cavalleria Rusticana), Tomsky (The Queen of Spades), Escamillo (Carmen), Il Commendatore (Don Giovanni), Count Monterone (Rigoletto), etc. He has apppeared on tours at many major European theatres including Spain, Hungary, Latvia, Holland, Germany, and Poland, to name a few.


A soloist with the LNOBT since 1983, her repertoire includes: Fenena (Nabucco), Pauline and the Countess (The Queen of Spades), Martha (Faust), the One-eyed Old Woman (The Bear), La Ciesca (Gianni Schicchi), Giovanna (Rigoletto), etc. Se has appeared on extensive tours in Russia, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Germany, Sweden, Greece, Spain, Norway, Finland, and elsewhere. This appearance will mark Ms. Domikaite’s debut with the Lithuanian Opera of Chicago as Lucia in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana.


In 1985 Ms. Bigenytė completed her vocal studies at the Juozas Gruodis Conservatory of Music in Kaunas, Lithuania.  To hone her professional vocal skills to an even higher degree of refinement, she furthered her studies at the Vilnius Academy of Music, from which she graduated in 1991.  That same year she made her debut as Venera in Wagner’s “Tannhäuser” at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre in Vilnius Lithuania.  In 1993 Ms. Bigenytė continued her musical development through studies in Chicago with the renowned Thomas Wikman.  In Chicago she won the Alice Stephens Competition (1994).  Ms. Bigenyte completed her Master’s Degree at the Lithuanian Music Academy in Kaunas.  Having an amazingly large vocal range, she is able to shine in both mezzo and soprano roles.  Ms. Bigenytė has presented concerts in Germany, Austria, France, and in many cities of the United States of America.

ELIGIJUS DOMARKAS  studied operatic direction at the Conservatory of Saint Petersburg (Leningrad), and in 1972 made his debut with the production of Bizet’s Carmen.  In 1974 Mr. Domarkas was assistant to B. Pokrovsky, a renowned Russian director, who at the time was preparing a new Vilnius’ version of Borodin’s Prince Igor.  He was also responsible for his original production of Verdi’s La Traviata at the new opera house in Vilnius, Lithuania.  Between 1977 to 1978, Mr. Domarkas was assistant to Berlin’s chief director J. Herz, who was producing Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.  Upon his return to Vilnius, he directed Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Puccini’s La Boheme, Bellini’s Norma, Klova’s Pilėnai, Gaižauskas’ Buratinas, Mozart’s Bastien e Bastienne,  Katzer’s The Merry Musician, new Lithuanian operas for children – Juozapaitis’ Marių Paukštė, Telksnys’ Mažylis, etc.  Under Mr. Domarkas’ direction Pilėnai was performed in Moscow and Warsaw, Norma in Warsaw and Chicago.  Mr. Domarkas has been principal director of the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre in Vilnius, Lithuania since 1989. He has been associated with the Lithuanian Opera of Chicago since 1991.


Artistic Director and Conductor

Austrian born of Lithuanian descent, maestro Alvydas Vasaitis began his musical development in his early years.  His education and development continued throughout his high school and university post graduate years.  Maestro Alvydas Vasaitis is currently the artistic director and principal conductor of the Lithuanian Opera Company of Chicago.

As conductor he made his debut with the Lithuanian Opera Company of Chicago in 1974 in Verdi’s opera Un Ballo in Maschera.  Subsequent performances include works such as G.Donizetti L’Elisir d’amore, Lucia di Lammermoor , G.Verdi Nabucco, R.Leoncavallo I Pagliacci, C.Orff Carmina Burana, C..M. von Weber Der Freischutz, A.Ponchielli I Lituani, V.Bellini Norma, V.Klova Pilėnai, G.Bizet Les Pescheurs de Perles, Carmen, J.Strauss Der Zigeunerbaron.In 1985 he was the guest conductor at the Lithuanian Opera and Ballet Theatre in Vilnius, Lithuania, for the highly successful performance of Verdi‘s La Traviata.  In 1986 he conducted a concert of Lithuanian symphonic songs and music with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, featuring renowned Lithuanian and American singers Dana Stankaitis, Virgilijus Noreika, Nijole Ambrazaityte, Algis Grigas.

Mr. Vasaitis is also an accomplished pianist and accompanist, known for his sensitive and musical pianistic style, and has perfomed in very many concerts both in the USA and Europe.  As pianist and accompanist Mr. Vasaitis is featured in a recording of Lithuanian art songs performed by the renowned Lithuanian-American soprano Dana Stankaitis.

In 1988, maestro Alvydas Vasaitis was invited to be guest conductor of the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Orchestra in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he presented a concert of symphonic works by Jakubėnas and Brahms.  The same year he was also guest conductor with the Lithuanian Opera and Ballet Theatre in Vilnius where he conducted Verdi‘s Otello. He has also conducted  the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Orchestra  in all Mozart and all Beethoven concerts.

Maestro Alvydas Vasaitis has conducted recordings  with several orchestras including the renowned Philharmonia Hungarica located in Germany.  In  1991 he was the recipient of the Recognition in Music Award presented by the Lithuanian –American Community.

In 2003 he was awarded the honorary designation of the Commander’s Cross, personally presented by the president of the Republic of Lithuania, his Excellency  Valdas Adamkus.


Did You Know?
About Cavalleria rusticanaCavalleria Rusticana contains the famous Intermezzo featured in the movie Godfather, and concludes with the fatal duel. Large choruses, verismo (realism), obsession, swift pace, grand church scene, a haunting lament, propel us through this famous late romantic opera

About Cavalleria rusticana

Cavalleria rusticana (Rustic Chivalry), an opera in one act by Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945), was first performed on May 17, 1890, at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome. The libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci was based on the play and short story of the same title by the Italian novelist Giovanni Verga.

The music publisher Sonzogno had offered a prize for the best one-act opera. Mascagni set to work writing Cavalleria rusticana. When he presented it to the judges of the competition, he won the first prize. The opera was considered a great success at its first performance. None of Mascagni’s subsequent operas enjoyed such success


Scene 1:

            It is dawn on Easter Sunday in a Sicilian village at the end of the nineteenth century. Turiddu can be heard offstage singing a Sicilian love song to Lola, the girl he loves and whom he had promised to marry before he left to do his military service.He recalls how he returned to the village to find that she had married the carter,Alfio.

            In trying to console himself, he has been courting and promising to marry another girl, Santuzza, but now has begun to see Lola again.As dawn breaks , a chorus of villagers comment on the beautiful day, Santuzza approaches Mamma Lucia, Turiddu’s mother,and points out that as she has been excommunicated, she cannot enter Mamma Lucia’s house, but would like news of her son. He has not gone to Francofonte for wine as his mother claims, but has been seen in the village.

            Their conversation is interrupted by Alfio’s arrival. He,too, saw Turiddu near his home that morning.Santuzza stops Lucia from asking further questions, but when Alfio has gone she tells her that Turiddu has betrayed her and is now having an affair with Lola. Turiddu arrives and angrily refuses to answer Santuzza’s questions.

            Their dramatic confrontation is interrupted by Lola’s arrival on her way to church. She flirts with Turiddu and arouses Santuzza’s jealousy. Following a heated argument, Turiddu pushes Santuzza violently away from him and follows Lola into the church. Santuzza throws a curse after him and in her despair reveals Lola’s infidelity to Alfio. The carter swears to take his bitter vengeance and revenge as the scene ends.

► Intermission

Scene 2:

To the lovely melody of the opera’s Intermezzo,the preceeding love triangle is re-enacted in a musical sequence of great eloquence and pure tranquility.

            When the church service is over, the villagers are invited by Turiddu to drink to “the sparkling wine”. Alfio declines to take part and tersely makes his challenge to Turiddu. According to Sicilian custom, the two men embrace and Turiddu bites Alfio’s ear as a token of his acceptance of the challenge.

            Turiddu spares a last thought for Santuzza and asks his mother to look after her. He then asks for her blessing. Mamma Lucia has feelings of foreboding although she knows nothing of the duel. Turiddu leaves her and Santuzza comes to keep her company.

            There is a noise in the distance and suddenly a woman shrieks, “They have murdered Turiddu!”.  He staggers in and dies as Santuzza and Mamma Lucia collapse.

STORY OF CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA – A Sicilian village, c. 1890. Early on Easter morning,

Scene 1 – Turiddu sings about his former beloved, Lola, now the wife of a wine carter, Alfio. As the town stirs, Santuzza, Turiddu’s neglected sweetheart, comes looking for the handsome youth at the tavern of his mother, Lucia. The girl reveals she has been excommunicated (pregnant), but before she can explain why, Alfio comes by with friends, boasting about his pretty young wife.

A religious procession fills the square and enters the church for mass, leaving Santuzza to tell Mamma Lucia that Turiddu has taken up with Lola again. When the old woman has gone to mass, Santuzza confronts Turiddu with his betrayal. Lola passes by, and Turiddu follows her into church. Santuzza hurls a curse after him, then, consumed by jealousy, tells Alfio of Lola’s infidelity. Santuzza immediately feels remorse, but the damage is done.

Scene 2 – When the mass ends, Turiddu and the villagers drink wine, after which Alfio insults Turiddu, who accepts a challenge to duel with knives in a nearby orchard. He begs his mother to take care of Santuzza if he does not return.

As Mamma Lucia and Santuzza wait anxiously, shouts rise in the distance. A woman stumbles in screaming and crying that Turiddu has been killed.  So ends the story of rustic chivalry in Sicily.


The Lithuanian Opera of Chicago was established in 1956.  It was created by

Lithuanian emigrants that arrived in America after WW II.  They demonstrated

an outstanding  zeal to maintain and continue their cultural heritage and traditions.

The operatic genre  was one of these traditions.  The first endeavors were so

successful, that the productions became an annual event (now 49 years).  The

majority of the chorus is amateur, but only in that one annual production is

presented.  Lithuanians have long displayed a love of music and song, and

opera is a great and most suitable vehicle of expression.

The chorus of the Lithuanian Opera of Chicago has toured extensively and

participated as guest choral group in collaborative efforts both on the American continent and Europe.  For example, the company produced  joint performances of a little known opera   (I Lituani by Amilcare Ponchielli) with the National Lithuanian Opera and Ballet Theater (NLOBT) in Vilnius, Lithuania.  Other joint efforts were also extended with the Opera Theater of Kaunas, Lithuania.  The ensemble has presented numerous concerts and is very proud of its mutual heritage and enthusiasm for the vocal arts.  There are about 50 choral artists at this time.

Soloists of past performances:

Stasys Baras, Virgilijus Noreika, Irena Milkevičiūtė, Dana Stankaitis, Jonas Vaznelis,

Algirdas Brazis, Arvydas Markauskas, Vytautas Juozapaitis, Sigutė Stonytė,

Gina Čapkauskienė, Stefan Wicik, Arnold Voketaitis, Lilian Šukis, Audrius Rubežius,

Irena Zelenkauskaitė, Vladimiras Prudnikovas, Liudas Norvaišas, Edgaras Prudkauskas,

Bronius Tamašauskas, Nijolė Ambrazaitytė, Dainius Stumbras, Aldona Stempužienė,

Roma Mastienė, Margarita Momkienė, Inesa Linaburgytė, Ligita Račkauskaitė, Česlovas Nausėda,

Arūnas Malikėnas, Vytautas Bakula, Jonas Valuckas, Laimonas Pautienius, Sigitas Dirsė,

Jonas Valuckas, Kęstutis Alčauskis, and others.


Aleksandras Kučiūnas, Vytautas Marijošius, Alvydas Vasaitis,

Vytautas Viržonis, Arūnas Kaminskas, Rimas Geniušas, and others.

Stage Directors:

Vladas Baltrušaitis, Kazys Oželis, David Hicks, Eligijus Domarkas, and others.

About Morton Auditorium:

Morton Auditorium is a historical building built about 100 years ago as an adjunct to

  1. Sterling Morton High School.Seating capacity is about 2,500 viewers.

The acoustics are phenomenal.  Singers of note and international stars all love to

perform their favorite operatic roles and interpretations in this auditorium.  The stage

is sufficiently large to house scenery rented from New York or Milan, Italy.

The orchestra pit is cramped, but seats 42 professional musicians.  The orchestral

sound has been described as “a red velvet robe on a prima donna”.

Past opera productions:

Aida, La Traviata, Norma, Gražina, Pilėnai, Nabucco, Il Trovatore, I Lituani,

Tosca, Pagliacci, Faust, Carmen, Rigoletto, Vilniaus Varpai, Jūratė ir Kastytis,

Elisir d’Amore, Lucia di Lammermoor, Der Freischütz,Un Ballo in Maschera, Otello,

Carmina Burana, Martha, Ziguenerbaron, Les Pêcheurs de Perles, and others.

►        * * * * * IMPORTANT * * * * * * *
►For ticket information, please call the Lithuanian Opera Co., Inc., ►Vaclovas Momkus, (773) 925-6193
►Online ticket sales are not yet available.
►Performance location: Morton Auditorium, 2401 S. Austin, Cicero, IL

►Sunday, April 24, 2005 3 PM

►►►49th Anniversary Feature:  Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni,

To receive a ticket brochure, mail your request to:
Lithuanian Opera Co., Inc.
3222 W. 66th Place
Chicago, IL 60629



You may obtain tickets be mail by as follows:
                        Ticket prices:
Main Floor: $40, $35, $30
Balcony: $35, $25, $20

Your Name: _________________________________________________

Your Address: _______________________________________________


Individual Ticket Price: $_________________________

Number of Tickets: ____________________________

tax-Deductible Contribution would also be greatly appreciated: $______________
(Suggested amounts: Sponsor: $1000 or more, Benefactor: $500, Patron: $100 or less)

                       Total Amount of Check or Money Order: $______________________
(payable to Lithuanian Opera Co. Inc.)
Mail to:
Lithuanian Opera Co., Inc.
3222 W. 66th Place
Chicago, IL 60629

            Please enclose a self addressed stamped envelope.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * *   PLANNING A WEDDING OR LIFE EVENT FUNCTION ? ? ? * * * * *

Hear the chorus sing in this opera, and see and hear for yourself how FANTASTIC they can sound.  The use of a chorus in a wedding or other formal function can tremendously enhance the importance, elegance, beauty and significance of your ceremony or life event.  Your dream wedding or life event is now a definite and affordable possibility.  For contact information and more, visit  Price and schedules are negotiable, starting at $3,199 per event, depending on multiple available options. Chicagoland area only. Significant advance notice required.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

►►WEDDING Plans?  Use a chorus!  Hear in advance! (Chicagoland area)

►►INSTANT cure for Depression!   Cavalleria Rusticana  shows the Sicilian way, old and proven.

►► Be successful in social circles, expand your horizons,  Cavalleria Rusticana can help you.

►► Be a REAL man. Cavalleria Rusticana will show you how!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *   PLANNING A WEDDING OR FUNCTION ? ? ? * * * * *

Hear the chorus sing in this opera, and see and hear for yourself how FANTASTIC they can sound.  The use of a chorus in a wedding or other formal function can tremendously enhance the importance, elegance, beauty and significance of your ceremony or life event.  Your dream wedding or life event is now a definite and affordable possibility.  For contact information and more, visit  Price and schedules are negotiable, starting at $3,199 per event, depending on multiple available options. Chicagoland area only. Significant advance notice required.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

(If you hear music while viewing this page, it’s the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana in a synthesized transcription. If you don’t hear any music, don’t worry about it.)