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Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945), Italian composer of operas, is known almost solely for his masterpiece, ”Cavalleria Rusticana” (”Rustic Chivalry”). Whilst he wrote numerous other operas, one or two of which are occasionally performed, it is ”Cavalleria Rusticana” that has prospered ever since.
It was Macagni’s first opera, and introduced the ”verismo” style (see Giacomo Puccini). The plot, set in a Sicilian village involves adultery, pregnancy, and ultimately, death. It was a sudden departure from the upper-class plots of previous operas. The “intermezzo” during a break in the action, and following chorus are the most well known parts of the opera.