Cavalleria rusticana



Considerations on the novel by Giovanni Verga and its adaptations in theater, opera and cinema

In 1874, with the publication of the novel Nedda, Giovanni Verga momentarily set aside worldly novels set in the circles of the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy,[1] that had allowed him to consolidate his fame as a writer, and he started a turning point in his career, when he told the story of a poor olive picker, who sinned carried away by passion.

Nedda inaugurated the mature phase of Verga, when he approached Verismo, led by fellow countryman Luigi Capuana, a great promoter of the movement's ideas, and influenced by new readings, mainly by French authors, from which he extracted the suggestion of a method rather than a model, making use of the precepts of Naturalism only to the extent that they helped him to better see the reality of native Sicily.

Verism (the term derives from true, in the sense of real [“real”, “reality”]) was born from the penetration of the naturalist tendency into the post-unitarian Italian intellectual milieu around 1870, a tendency that asserted itself from the debates on Realism that agitated Milan for a decade, paving the way for a renewal of literature, with more modern approaches to reality. Although it adopted some postulates from the French movement, Verismo had a regionalist character, tending to portray rural environments with its peasant mass rather than urban spaces in which all social classes coexisted.

with the success of Nedda, the editors asked the writer for other short narratives, which gave rise to collections of novels whose main theme was the popular world of his native land, among which Life of the fields (1880) and Rustic stories (1883). To this fruitful period of his production also belongs Padron 'Ntoni, a “marine sketch”, which Verga had begun to draw up in 1874, but which did not satisfy him. The text remained unpublished, although the author had redrafted it four times, devoting himself to it with dedication, as can be deduced from a letter to his friend Capuana, dated March 14, 1879: “I trust in Padron 'Ntoni and I would like […] to have given it that mark of fresh and serene recollection, which would have established an immense contrast with the turbulent and incessant passions of the big cities, with those fictitious needs, and that other perspective of ideas or, I would say, also feelings. That's why I would have wanted to go and take refuge in the countryside, by the sea, among those fishermen and catch them alive, as God did them. But perhaps it is not bad, on the other hand, that I consider them at a certain distance, in the midst of the activity of a city like Milan or Florence. Don't you think that, for us, the appearance of certain things is only important if seen from a certain visual angle? And that we can never be as sincerely and effectively true as when we do intellectual reconstruction work and replace our eyes with our minds?”

Finally, in January 1881, the writer published the episode of the storm in the magazine the new anthology, under the title of “Poveri pescatori”, and, in February, he launched the novel, from which, in April of the previous year, he had cut the opening forty-two pages, so that the work would be more effective and interesting (aware of sacrificing landscape, environment and characters) and changed the title. The Malavoglia (The Malavoglia) was the first book in the cycle Tide, later titled The vanquished, later incorporated by Mast-don Gesualdo (Master Dom Gesualdo, 1889), a project that confirmed Verga's adherence to Verismo.[2]

The Malavoglia tells the story of the Toscanos, commonly known as the Malavoglias, a family of fishermen headed by the patriarch Padron 'Ntoni, whose ruin begins after a frustrated attempt to obtain additional profit by selling a load of lupins. Young 'Ntoni, while serving in the Navy, discovers the world and tries in vain to distance himself from the life of sacrifices that the other members of the family accept with resignation. If 'Ntoni ends up defeated, the brothers who managed to overcome the grief and misfortunes that befell the “house of the loquat tree”, struggle to rebuild the family unit.

Giovanni Verga verista's itinerary is all contained in the works conceived in the same period: the novels and the two novels of the 1880s, considered his masterpieces. For the writer, the brief narratives were sketches, preparatory studies for the larger texts; written in parallel, the novels allow us to verify how themes, characters and narrative techniques were used in the various genres to which the author dedicated himself, including the theatrical.

the pregnancy of The Malavoglia, for example, was reflected in the elaboration of Life of the fields (and vice versa) and Rustic stories. The social immobility to which the old fisherman and his family are condemned in fantasticheria (Fantasy fabric, 1879, later published in the first collection) reflects the same condition that will imprison Padron 'Ntoni and his family nucleus, while Black bread (bitter bread, 1882, later appended to the second) can be considered a cynical unfolding of The Malavoglia, with the degradation of the figure of the head of the family and the affirmation of a new provider, who reconstitutes the broken home thanks to her body offered as an exchange commodity.

The most significant case to understand this transition between genres is Cavalleria rusticana (1880), which includes Life of the fields: the beginning of the novel derives directly from the novelistic episode in which the young 'Ntoni, on his return from military service, flirts with the girls of the village: “'Ntoni had arrived on a feast day, and went from door to door greeting his neighbors and acquaintances, so that wherever he went, everyone stared at him; his friends followed him in a procession, and the girls leaned out of the windows; but the only one you couldn't see was Sara from Comadre Tudda.

"She went with her husband to Ognina," he told Santuzza. She married Menico Trinca, who was a widower with six small children, but rich as a pig. […]

Comadre Venera […] wanted to make fun of the face that 'Ntoni would make with that news. But for him too, time had passed, and it is customary to say “out of sight, out of mind”. 'Ntoni now wore his cap over his ear. – Compadre Menico wants to die with a horn, he said to console himself [...].

'Ntoni left all bragging, swaying his hips, with an entourage of friends, and he wished that every day was Sunday to go for a walk in his shirt with stars […].

Anyway, 'Ntoni spent the whole day having fun […].

In the sloop they made fun of him because Sara had dumped him […]. — “Swine and men of war are short-lived,” says the proverb; that's why Sara dumped you. […]

– I don't lack for a girlfriend, answered 'Ntoni; in Naples they ran after me like puppies”.

In the transposition of the love triangle to the novel, young 'Ntoni, a fisherman, becomes Turiddu Macca, a peasant, Sara becomes Lola and Menico Trinca becomes compadre Alfio:

“Turiddu Macca, the son of Nhá Nunzia, after completing his military service, every Sunday he strutted around the square in the uniform of a bersagliere and the red cap, like the barrel-organ man when he sets up the tent with the parakeet. Going to mass with his nose hidden in his shawl, the girls ate him up with their eyes and the kids, like flies, buzzed around him. He had also brought a carved pipe, with the King on horseback that looked alive. And, raising his leg as if to kick it, he would light the matches in the seat of his trousers. In spite of all this, Seu Angelo's Lola did not appear either at mass or on the balcony, for she had engaged to a man, a native of Licodia, who was a teamster and had four of Sortino's mules in his stable. How did he know that, right at the beginning, Turiddu – damn it – wanted to rip the guts out of the guy from Licodia, well he wanted to! However, he did nothing and vented by going to sing the songs of disdain that he knew under the girl's window.

- But this Turiddu, son of Nhá Nunzia, has nothing to do - said the neighbors - because he spends his nights singing like an unaccompanied bird?

Finally he bumped into Lola who was returning from the pilgrimage to Our Lady of Perils and, when she saw him, she didn't turn pale or blush, as if it were none of her business.

- Lucky who sees you! - he said.

– Oh, Compadre Turiddu, I was told that you had returned at the beginning of the month.

– For me, they said other things more! – he replied – is it true that you are going to marry compadre Alfio, the cart driver?

'God willing,' replied Lola, pulling the two ends of her scarf over her chin.

– God's will for you is what suits you best. God's will was that I had to come back from so far away to have this great news, Miss Lola!

The poor devil was still trying to act brave, but his voice had grown hoarse and he walked behind the girl waddling, so that the tassel of his cap danced from side to side over his shoulders. She, in her heart, was sorry to see him so downcast, but she didn't want to deceive him with flattery.

“Listen, compadre Turiddu,” he said at last, “let me catch up with my friends. What would the village say when they saw me with you?…

–That's right – replied Turiddu – now that you're going to marry compadre Alfio, who has four mules in the stable, the people must not speak. My mother, however, poor thing, had to sell our bay mule and the few vines on the side of the road while I was in the army. But all that has passed and you no longer think about the time we talked through the backyard window and you gave me a handkerchief before I left. Only God knows the tears I shed on him when I left for so far away, where they didn't even know the name of our land. So goodbye Miss Lola, let's pretend it rained and stopped and our friendship ended.

Nhá Lola married the cart driver and on Sundays she would stand on the balcony, her hands on her stomach to show off all the big gold rings that her husband had given her. Turiddu kept going up and down the alley, his pipe in his mouth, his hands in his pockets, and looking indifferent, keeping an eye on the girls. But inside she was gnawing, because Lola's husband had all that gold and she pretended not to notice him when he passed by”.

To get even, Turiddu becomes a foreman for Cola, a rich vineyard owner, father of Santa, with whom the young man begins to flirt. Lola, jealous, manages to ensnare him again and Santa, to take revenge, tells his friend Alfio everything, who, on Easter Eve, launches a challenge to his rival. The next day, at dawn, the two confront each other and compadre Alfio, despite being wounded, manages to kill Turiddu.

Responding to the pleas of his friend Giuseppe Giacosa, the famous Lombard playwright, Verga transferred the novel to the stage in 1883. On October 12, Capuana wrote to him (in a letter transcribed by Sarah Zappulla Muscarà): “I have read and confirmed my idea, that is to say, that, in what we understand by novel and telenovela, from there to drama proper there is only one step and it is not very difficult. Someone who has a hand accustomed to all the mischief of the scene wouldn't have known how to adapt your soap opera to the theater better than you did. It's all there: the ambience, the speed of the action, the effect.”[3]

In fact, according to Pietro Gibellini, there was a “latent theatricality” in the telenovela, which, in its first part, alongside moments of comedy (such as the court of Turiddu a Santa), “has the cadence of a drama”, while , in the second part, “the tone is that of tragedy or tragic epic”, a passage marked by Lola’s invitation to the young man to visit her.[4]

The adaptation led to some modifications: alongside the characters already present in the brief narrative – Turiddu Macca, Santuzza, Compadre Alfio di Licodiano, Nhá Lola, his wife – come to life Nhá Nunzia, mother of Turiddu (before mentioned only), Tio Brasi, equerry, Comadre Camilla, his wife, Tia Filomena and Pippuzza, who will announce the death of Turiddu; the economic issue (with Lola who marries a richer man and on Sundays flaunts her wealth) takes a back seat to Santuzza's declared passion and jealousy, which acquires greater prominence in the new genre; the duel between the two rivals is not staged.

The temptation to show this scene with guaranteed dramatic effect, however, was great, and Verga was not spared the chagrin of watching a production (January 1908) in which the famous Sicilian actor Giovanni Grasso modified the outcome, as reported by Ignazio Burgio : “Before he lowered the curtain, […] he would return to the stage impromptu, and, while being chased by the actors who impersonated the carabinieri, he would show the terrified spectators the all-reddish knife (probably made of tomatoes!), with which he had killed the rival Turiddu”.

And to think that the author, on August 18, 1884, had commented to his friend Luigi Capuana: “This little comedy must be interpreted badly in order to perform well, that is, without emphasis or theatrical effects. I want the same simplicity and the same naturalness of people who speak and move like peasants and who don't know how to interpret” – as quoted by Muscarà, adding: “Attentive to the nuances, to the smallest details, being aware [...] that everything contributes in order to make explicit the truth which the characters are bearers of, he had written to Capuana, asking him to send him photos of peasants and places, drawings and sketches, samples and objects, and to his brother, so that he could provide, in Vizzini, the meticulously detailed costumes. described”.

In this way, everything was there: “the acrid Verismo, the silent and archaic code of honor, the atavistic rituals, the folkloric, anthropological and customary elements, capable of fascinating for their exoticism”. Thinking about the scenic effect, the writer set “the drama in the 'village square', renewing the Italian scene full of bourgeois interiors”, as observed by Muscarà.

The public and critical success was resounding, also due to the fame of the writer and, mainly, to the performance of Eleonora Duse.[5] In relation to this interpretation, years later, Capuana would be a dissenting voice, perhaps due to the refusal of the grand dame of Italian theater to star in her play. Jacinta, represented since 1888, adaptation of the controversial homonymous novel, which had caused so much scandal when it was published in 1879. In the preface of Sicilian dialectal theater (in whose five volumes he gathered his rural plays, written between 1911-1912 and 1920-1921), when comparing different stagings of Cavalleria rusticana, he will write: “the 'Santuzza-Duse' had seemed to my Sicilian eyes 'a kind of falsification of the passionate creature of Giovanni Verga, in gestures, in the expression of the voice, in the clothes'”, in contrast to that “'lively and real', 'of the highest order', of 'a poor provincial actress', or of exceptional interpreters like Marinella Bragaglia and Mimì Aguglia”' (as Muscarà mentioned).

The profits obtained from the theatrical activity encouraged the author to continue along this path, as dedicating himself only to soap operas and novels yielded less than writing for the stage, a job that was actually facilitated by the narrative works on which he was often based. Despite this, the financial issue cannot be seen as the only stimulus for this activity, since, at the beginning of his career, Verga had embarked on dramaturgy with comedy of manners I new tartufi (dated 1865, but unpublished until 1982) [6], and with the drama rose caduche [7] and the comedy L'onore [8], both from 1869. From the same period, it would also be another piece, Nuvole d'estate, of which there is not much news, and the theatrical work that the author tried to extract from the novel Story of a blackcap.[9]

Cavalleria rusticana, when it was published in 1884, gave rise to verista theater. In the next piece, in portineria (1885), Verga tried to change the register, as he wrote, on June 5, to Luigi Capuana: “I wanted the drama to be rigorously intimate, all with nuances of interpretation, as it really happens in life; and, in that sense, it was another step in the search for the real”, stressing that, by setting his stories in the Milanese proletarian milieu, he intended to portray “another side of popular life: to do for the city’s underclass what I had already done for the Sicilian peasants”. Based on the telenovela “Il canarino del n. 15” (1882), which is part of the collection per le vie (1883), the theatrical text, in addition to being a failure in its first staging, received violent criticism, which embittered the writer; however, the following year, thanks to a new montage with Eleonora Duse, it won public applause. Extracted from the homonymous soap opera (which integrates Life of the fields), The she-wolf, represented in 1896, was also successful, despite its controversial content [10]; that same year, the piece was published, along with in portineria e Cavalleria rusticana, in a single volume by the editor Treves.

Verga also drafted, in 1886, a theatrical text based on intimate drama (1883), novel published earlier in intimate drammi (1884) and later in I ricordi del capitano d'Arce (1891), and, in 1887, without concluding it, the third act of the comedy Il come, il cuando ed il perché, (based on the homonymous novel that was part of the 1881 edition of Life of the fields), a title that also appears in the manuscript of the second act of another comedy with a mundane atmosphere, later entitled The farfalle (1890). From the brief narrative “Il mistero” (1882), published in Rustic stories, the writer, with the collaboration of Giovanni Monleone, extracted the homonymous sacred representation of the Passion of Christ, with music by Domenico Monleone.[11]

From another brief narrative that does not integrate any volume, “Caccia al lupo” (1897), which is somewhat related to “Jeli il pastore” (“Jeli, the shepherd”, published in Life of the fields), the author extracted the homonymous single act, which, together with Caccia alla volpe, was staged in 1901 and published in 1902; while in the next piece, Give it to me, mounted in 1903, took the opposite path, from the dramatic text to the narrative, by transforming the comedy into a novel with the same title (1906), released without success.[12]

Returning to the staging of Cavalleria rusticana, the success of the play led the writer to think about setting it to music and, for that, on March 22, 1884, he wrote to maestro Giuseppe Perrotta, his childhood friend, asking him for a small symphony that would serve as an epilogue to the work, to be performed before the curtains open, “something that has the effectiveness of simplicity, like comedy, that has color, the really Sicilian and country breath” (as recorded by Muscarà).

The first performance of the symphonic prelude took place on July 29, 1886, at the Arena Pacini in Catania, under the baton of maestro Perrotta. Two years later, Gian Domenico Bartocci Fontana wrote the libretto Easter bag, set to music by maestro Stanislao Gastaldon. The lyrical drama in three acts, performed at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome, on April 9, 1890, was unsuccessful, unlike Pietro Mascagni's triumphal opera, Cavalleria rusticana; in 1907, it was the turn of another melodrama with the same title, by Domenico Monleone. With Mascagni, verist ideas entered the world of opera, in which, alongside this composer, Giacomo Puccini, Ruggero Leoncavallo, Umberto Giordano, Francesco Cilea, Alfredo Catalani and Riccardo Zandonai, among others, stood out.

Both Mascagni and Gastaldon had participated in the same edition of the competition that the music publisher Edoardo Sonzogno, from Milan, used to hold between composers who had not yet managed to represent an opera of their own. The contest had seventy-three candidates, and while Gastaldon entered Easter bag (which was ranked last), Mascagni proposed Cavalleria rusticana, with a libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci, winning first place, which ensured an assembly financed by Sonzogno. Staged at Teatro Costanzi, on May 17, 1890, Mascagni's opera was an extraordinary success, but, in the credits, there was no mention of Verga, whose name was included only after he manifested himself.[13]

Despite not being informed beforehand of this adaptation, the writer demanded only what was due to him under the copyright law. Even maestro Gastaldon, authorized by the author to transform Cavalleria rusticana in opera, he did not object to a contract between Verga and Mascagni, or between the writer and the music publisher, to whom the composer had assigned the lyrical drama. Not reaching an agreement on the value of the percentage to be paid, Verga faced a long legal dispute with Sonzogno to recover part of the large dividends obtained from Mascagni's melodrama, which ended in 1893, with a favorable opinion to the writer.

It is worth remembering that the operatic triumph, alongside the theatrical success of Verga's work, determined the change in the title of the collection that the homonymous soap opera was part of, which changes from Life of the fields for Cavalleria rusticana and another novel, in the 1892 edition, and aroused the interest of the seventh art for its plot, taken to the screens at the beginning of the XNUMXth century, which confirmed the penetration of Verismo in cinema as well. The dual paternity of Cavalleria rusticana, however, caused some problems, since it was not always possible to establish whether a film was based on Verga's novel or play, or else on Mascagni's lyrical drama.

The long quarrel between the Sicilian author and the Tuscan composer was repeated in the cinematographic field. For example, in 1916, the writer witnessed the filming of Ugo Falena's performance, while that of Ubaldo Maria Del Colle had the approval of the maestro and his music editor, who disallowed the performance of the opera during the projection of other cinematographic adaptations as well. titled Cavalleria rusticana. When performing his version in 1982, Franco Zeffirelli extracted it from the soap opera and the opera.

De Cavalleria rusticana derived from five other films with the same title, those of Mario Gallo (1908) [14], Émile Chautard (1910) [15], Mario Gargiulo (1924), Amleto Palermi (1939) and Carmine Gallone (blood for love, 1954), as well as a first transposition in a comic key, dated 1901, Rustic cavalry?! [16], and “Cavalleria rusticana oggi”, the first episode of the comedy I uccido, you uccidi (1965), by Gianni Puccini. [17]

Other novels by Verga that reached the screens were The she-wolf (The wolf), from which the homonymous transpositions by Alberto Lattuada (1953) and Gabriele Lavia (1996) were extracted, Wolf hunting, L'amante di Gramigna (Gramigna's mistress) to Malpelo red (red hair), filmed under the original title by Giuseppe Sterni (1917), Carlo Lizzani (1968) and Pasquale Scimeca (2007), respectively, and Freedom (Freedom), in which Florestano Vancini was inspired to carry out Bronte: chronicle of a massacre that the history books have not told (1972)[18]

Among the novels are Story of a blackcap, a peccatrice, Eva, real tiger, The husband of Elena [19], all adapted with the same title. The first was filmed by Giuseppe Sterni (1917), Gennaro Righelli (1943) and Zeffirelli (1993), respectively; the second, by Polifilm in Naples (1918); the third by Ivo Illuminati (1919); The Bedroom by Giovanni Pastrone (1916) [20]; the fifth by Riccardo Cassano (1921). The masterpieces of the Sicilian writer also had an audiovisual version: The Malavoglia was taken to the screens by Luchino Visconti, in The earth trembles (to earth terrific, 1948) [21], and by Scimeca, in Reluctantly (2010); Mast-don Gesualdo gave rise to the homonymous television series (1964), directed by Giacomo Vaccari.[22]

Resuming the speech about Cavalleria rusticana, when it was transformed into a libretto, the work underwent some more modifications: Santuzza, who, in the play, was the second character, was elevated to the protagonist; Turiddu's mother, now called Lucia, started to have a greater scenic presence, becoming the third character in the opera; the neighborhood choir gained prominence in the arias sung by the villagers when they returned from toil, in the tavern, in the church or in the square. The action remained well synthesized, as in the play, in which the space-time unit typical of Greek theater was respected.

Everything takes place in the square of a Sicilian village, on Easter Sunday, and important facts that precede that day and explain the behavior of the characters are recovered by the lines, as in this outburst of Santuzza to Lucia, extracted from the libretto of the opera:

“You know, mother,
before being a soldier,
Turiddu had sworn allegiance
Eternal Lola.
Returned, and she was married; It is
with a new love I wanted to erase the
that burned his heart:
loved me, loved him.
She envied my pleasures
forgot her husband, burned in
Robbed me... Barred from honor
I am:
Lola and Turiddu love each other,
I cry, I cry!”

The character of Santuzza, barely outlined in the novel and who gained space in the play and opera, ends up psychologically approaching the protagonist of The she-wolf, by putting the power of his passion before the laws of the community. The growth of the girl seduced and despised by her lover and Turiddu's mother shifts the axis of the work, which, from a drama between two male rivals, becomes a tragedy of the female impossibility of breaking certain social barriers.

Between October 18 and 29, 2014, Teatro Municipal de São Paulo proposed a new version of Cavalleria rusticana [23], this time with scenic direction by Pier Francesco Maestrini, who, in his reading of the opera, introduced a series of poetic licenses. Instead of the traditional scenery of the village square, with the church, on the left, and the tavern and mother Lucia's house, on the right, he preferred to unveil before the eyes of the public a broader landscape, with the village on top of a hill and surrounded by valleys and hills (with an almost cinematic depth of field) and bring the location of the action outside the village, in a space that lends itself to hosting the various events.

In this way, the staging recovered a fundamental element of Verga's art: the landscape. In the first scene, before the peasants start harvesting oranges, on a kind of plateau, on the left, Turiddu and Lola appear making love at dawn. The meeting place between the lovers draws attention due to the fact that it refers to the cliffs by the sea where 'Ntoni Valastro and Nedda [24] were dating in The earth trembles.

The movement of the villagers on stage is very lively, thus pulling the chorus out of its role as a mere spectator and commentator (as in the novel, the play and in some passages of the libretto), in which it only underlines the lines of the main characters. . In this sense, it approaches the collective choir of the entire village of Acitrezza, in The Malavoglia, with its dialogues and its so-called-me-said, extremely lively and colorful, which Visconti also could not resist, masterfully recovering them, mainly in the first narrative sequence of the film, in which the incessant movement of the camera, which guides the viewer's gaze from one point to another on the beach, is dictated by the sound rhythm of the great polyphony constituted by the almost incomprehensible speech of Sicilian fishermen.

the corner of Hallelujah that resounds in the church and square was replaced by a procession of great scenic effect, which dialogues with the processions present in the cinematographic productions of 1939 and 1954, for example. A compassion, carried on a litter, becomes a parody of a living painting, because when the ornate stretcher is placed on the ground, Our Lady adjusts Christ who was leaning on her knees and joins the other faithful, who are chanting the religious song, followed shortly after by her son.

Compadre Alfio is no longer a carter, but a mafia boss who rides in a black car with his henchmen, without betraying the work's conception at all, in thinking that this patriarchal organization is based on the same values ​​linked to honor and possession of assets of the Verguian characters. Nor is a reference to The godfather III (The Mighty Boss III, 1990), by Francis Ford Coppola, who incorporated the opera's prelude into his soundtrack. Of the duel between the two rivals, absent in the libretto, only the beginning is shown, with Turiddu being subdued by his henchmen; and his body will be thrown by them in front of his mother's house, shortly after the famous cry announcing his death: "Hanno ammazzato compare Turiddu!" (“They killed compadre Turiddu!”). In this case, the visual effect overlaps with the canoro, and the male element with the female, but nothing manages to overcome Santuzza's impetuous force.

The intertextuality [25] who presided over this staging of the opera refers to the different possibilities of reading to which the plot of Cavalleria rusticana it has been subject since it was conceived and to the various layers of interpretation that stand between it and its contemporary admirers, who do nothing more than enrich it and prove the creative force of Giovanni Verga.

*Mariarosaria Fabris is a retired professor at the Department of Modern Letters at FFLCH-USP. Author, among other texts, of the chapter Verga and the Italian Verismo, which includes the volume The Naturalism (Perspective).

Revised version of article published in Letters in Magazine, flight. 6, no1, 2015.



BURGIO, Ignazio. “Giovanni Verga e il cinema: l'eterna battaglia contro cineasti, censorship, Mascagni e …se stesso”, sd Available at: .

FABRIS, Mariarosaria. “Verga and the cinema”. In: MOURÃO, Maria Dora G. et al. (org.). Film and Audiovisual Studies – SOCINE: full text annals. São Paulo: SOCINE–Brazilian Society of Cinema and Audiovisual Studies, 2013, p. 631-638 [electronic resource].

GIBELLINI, Pietro. “Tre coltellate per compare Turiddu: lettura anthropologica di Cavalleria rusticana”, 1993. Available at: rusticana_(novel)>.

MUSCARÀ, Sarah Zappulla. “Cavalleria rusticana di Giovanni Verga fra Teatro, Melodramma e Cinema”, 2014. Available at: TSP/article/viewFile/TSP-w.2014/007/4730>.

MUSCARÀ, Sarah Zappulla. “Giovanni Verga invisibile burattinaio-artista, fra theatre, melodramma and cinema”. In: Giovanni Verga: an ascoltare library. Rome: Edizioni De Luca, 1999. p. 41-81.

RICCARDI, Carla. “Introduction”. In: VERGA, Giovanni. All the short stories. Milano: Mondadori, 2001. p. VII-XXX.

ROBERTO, Federico de. “Preface” [to Verbal process] In: ________. Romanzi, novelle and saggi. Milano: Mondadori, 2004. p. 1641-1642.

TARGIONI-TOZZETTI, Giovanni; MENASCI, Guido. libretto of Cavalleria rusticana. Trans. Igor Reyner. In: Cavalleria rusticana + I pagliacci. São Paulo: Fundação Theatro Municipal de São Paulo, sp, 2014 [catalogue].

VERGA, Giovanni. "Russian Cavalry". Trans. Loredana by Stauber Caprara. In: ________. Sicilian life scenes. São Paulo: Berlendis & Vertecchia, 2001. p. 65-72.

VERGA, Giovanni. Letter to Luigi Capuana. Florence: Le Monnier, 1975.

VERGA, Giovanni. The Malavoglia. Trans. Aurora Fornoni Bernadini and Homero Freitas de Andrade. Sao Paulo: Ateliê Editorial, 2002.



[[1]] While a peccatrice (1886) Story of a blackcap (1871) and Eva (1873) predate “Nedda”, real tiger (1875) Eros (1875) and The husband of Elena (1882) were published later.

[2] The project should have been completed with La duchessa delle Gargantas (after Leyra's shower), L'onorevole Scipioni e L'uomo di lusso. The protagonist of the third novel of the cycle should have been Isabella, supposed daughter of Gesualdo and future Countess of Leyra. The core of the novel, therefore, was already in the 1889 work. Leyra's shower, Verga would return to the themes of bourgeois novels, portraying aristocratic vanity and their passions. The text was written in several stages: in 1898, the new anthology announced its publication; in 1907, the author communicated to Édouard Rod, his French translator, that he was working on it, but, in 1918, he burned the manuscript, an evident sign that the verista experience had come to an end. After the writer's death, Federico De Roberto published the first chapter of the novel and the fragment of the second, found among his papers, in the magazine Reading (June 1, 1922).

[3] After all, when commenting on one of the postulates of Verismo, impersonality – that is, a narrative characterized by dialogism and the absence of comments, in which the writer “disappeared”–, Federico De Roberto, the third great name of the movement, in the preface of Verbal process (1889), will state: “Absolute impersonality can only be achieved in pure dialogue, and the ideal of objective representation consists in the dinner as one writes for the theater. The event must unfold by itself, and the characters must signify what they are by themselves, through their words and their actions”.

[4] Carla Riccardi made the same kind of considerations when she suggested that Mast-don Gesualdo it is a “theatrical” novel in its structure, not only because the “protagonist-hero acts in a society based on fiction”, but also because of the use of dialogues and scenes with the crowd that seem like acts of a comedy.

[5] Success also proved by the parodies Cavalry pocch parol, performed at the Teatro Milanese by the troupe of Eduardo Ferravilla and Eduardo Giraud, and Rustic Fanteria: Scene Livornesi, staged by the Ciotti-Serafini company at the Teatro Nuovo in Florence. On the contrary, The Malavoglia, when it was released, it was a fiasco, bewildering the public and the critics.

[6] In the play, whose title alludes to Tartuffe (Truffle, 1664), by Molière, the writer opposes family values ​​to the intrigues and hypocrisy of politics.

[7] Inspired basically by La dame aux camelias (The Lady of the Camellias, 1848/the novel; 1852/a play), by Alexandre Dumas Filho, rose caduche focuses on a constant theme in Verguiana's work: the disparity in intensity and duration of love desire in a couple. The play was not staged at the time (the first production is from 1960) and was not published until 1928.

[8] Despite some attempts to resume it, in 1872, 1876 and 1878, the play was not completed, but the author will use part of its characters in the so-called trilogy of love – Eva, real tiger e Eros - is at The husband of Elena, while those that should have starred in two of the works from the cycle of The vanquished: the Duchess of Gargantàs and the lawyer Scipioni.

[9] Of this work there are three sketches with different titles, The wife of Gerico (just the argument), Cinderella (more complete text, with acts, scenes and characters) and Dolores (three schemes), probably from the 1890s, plus a 1913 attempt.

[10] In 1919, The she-wolf was set to music by maestro Pietro Tasca, but this new version was only staged in 1932.

[11] A new libretto by The mystery, written in 1921, will be published by the magazine Screenwriting in 1940.

[12] Verga dedicated other telenovelas to the theatrical environment, gathered in Don Candeloro and Ci (1893): “Paggio Fernando” (1889); “Don Candeloro e Ci”, “Le marionette parlanti” and “La serata della diva” (1890); “Il tramonto di Venere” (1892).

13] Although the libretto states that it was taken from Verga's novel, its conception is closer to the structure of the play.

[14] This version, produced in absentia of the author, corresponded to the filming of the staging of the play during the tour of the theater company of Giovanni Grasso in Argentina.

[15] It was the first time that Verga authorized the cinematographic transposition of a work of his authorship, but he did not like this script by Cavalleria rusticana; even so, he consented to the “Association Cinématographique des Artistes Dramatiques” to film it, hoping to ensure for a longer time the success that the theatrical representations of the homonymous play were having in France. Released the following year, the film directed by Chautard displeased critics and the writer, who, despite the negative experience, did not give up collaborating with the film industry, as he confided to his partner, Countess Dina Castellazzi di Sordevolo, on 20 February 1912: “Cavalleria or not Cavalleria, the cinematograph today has invaded the field in such a way and needs arguments or themes with which to stultify the public and blind people” (in correspondence cited by Muscarà in 1999). The writer's relations with the cinema were always ambiguous, as he did not want to downgrade his art, but at the same time, like other literati, he allowed himself to be attracted by the easy profit that the sale of the copyright of his works or of a screenplay provided him. assured. In addition, in 1916, Verga became a partner of “Silentium Film” in Milan, to which he sent some scripts, always with the aim of popularizing his literary production.

[16] This adaptation was also carried out without the writer's consent. Verga, who, as already mentioned, always fought for the recognition of his copyright, was among the founders of the “Società Italiana degli Autori” (1882). In 1920, the newly founded “Società Autori Cinematografici” invited him to join, as he was one of the world's best-known and most appreciated cinematographers.

[17] Tequila: history of a passion (2011), by Mexican director Sergio Sánchez Suárez, is a good example of other films that were inspired by Cavalleria rusticana.

[18] Of the novels not cited so far, “L'amante di Gramigna” (1880) and “Rosso Malpelo” (1878) were collected in Life of the fields, while “Libertà” (1882) integrated Rustic stories.

[19] These were the last filmings that Verga was able to watch, as he died in the same year.

[20] in the credits of real tiger, the name of the writer appears as screenwriter. In fact, some adaptations of Verguiana's works for the screen relied on the collaboration of the author himself, although he did not always sign them. Verga worked as a screenwriter from 1912 to 1920, however, sometimes De Roberto wrote the scripts, while Countess Sordevolo was in charge of the adaptations, but always under the supervision of the writer.

[21] The earth trembles continues to be the ultimate expression of a verista text in cinema. In the early 1940s, Visconti was linked to the magazine Cinema, in whose pages, with the article “Verità e Poetry: Verga e il Cinema Italiano” (1941), Mario Alicata and Giuseppe De Santis had opened a debate on the work of the Sicilian writer. The rediscovery of Verga, as a master of the desired realism, and the urge to bring his “revolutionary art, inspired by a humanity that suffers and waits” to the canvas, were linked to the desire to oppose a culture rooted in the social and popular reality of the country to the rhetoric of the official culture of Fascism. Visconti was interested in adapting “L'amante di Gramigna”, but, when he was prevented from carrying out the project (the script was not released by the Ministry of Popular Culture), his choice fell on The Malavoglia, also attracted by the musicality and plasticity present in some excerpts from Verguiano's masterpiece, which will be key elements of the film, as I have already had the opportunity to write.

[22] In a letter to Countess Sordevolo (May 8, 1912), when discussing which writings of his authorship could be transposed to canvas, Verga – in addition to discarding “Le storie del castello di Trezza” (1875), “Certi argomenti” ( 1876), I ricordi del capitano d'Arce e The husband of Elena – he added: “With Mast-don Gesualdo and com The Malavoglia, I also think that nothing can be done because of the taste of this public” (as transcribed by Muscarà in 1999).

[23] The opera, staged for the first time in Brazil at Teatro São José (São Paulo, February 9, 1892), was presented at the Municipal Theater of São Paulo on several occasions, according to the catalog of that institution: October 1, 1913, August 1914, September 1915, October 1922, June 1924, October 1925, May-June and August 1926, December 1928, July 1933, November-December 1934, May 1938, October 1941, October 1942, September 1944, February and June 1947, August 1948, October 1949, June 1950, January, May and September 1951, September 1956, November-December 1957, September 1958, April 1962, October 1963, October-November 1965, October 1968, October 1974, November 1981, November 1993, December 2000, October 2013 – which attests to its great penetration in our cultural environment.

[24] In the film, the fisherman family's surname was changed to Valastro and the novel's Sara became Nedda.

[25] It is interesting to note that this type of intertextuality also characterized Verga's dialogue with Italian filmmakers in works that were not transpositions of a telenovela or novel of his authorship. For example, Visconti made Rocco and His Brothers (Rocco and his brothers, 1960) the continuation of The earth trembleswhile in The Leopard (the leopard, 1964), although it was based on the homonymous novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, he added a Verguian touch to the description of the young soldier found dead in Prince Salina’s garden, which he took from the novel “Carne venduta” (“Sold meat”, 1885 ). Paolo and Vittorio Taviani did the same when they filmed “La giara”, an episode of Kaos (1984), by lending to Dom Lolló, one of the protagonists of the novel and play of the same name by Luigi Pirandello, some traits of the miser Mazzaró from “La roba” (“The Goods”, 1880), one of the brief narratives of Rustic stories. Zeffirelli, on the contrary, in Story of a blackcap (forbidden dream), for the plague sequences, used Alessandro Manzoni's description of the epidemic in I promise sposi (The bride and groom, 1840-1844).

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