The Crown of the Year
Clouds and sunshine, wind and showers, blossoms in the trees, grass in the fields, swallows by the ponds, snakes in the hedgerows, nightingales in the thickets, and cuckoos everywhere !
A Spring Programme arranged by G. Dewi ROBERTS
The plot is founded on a well-known Sicilian story of village life, and is in one act, without change of scene. It begins with a serenade, sung before the curtain rises. Turiddu, the singer, and Lola, to whom it is addressed, had been sweethearts, but when Turiddu went off soldiering the inconstant Lola had married Alfio, a wagoner.
The curtain rises on a village in holiday mood. It is Easter morning, and, while some are bound for church, others are clearly bent on pleasure. Gradually the villagers go off, until only Lucia, Turiddu's mother, and Santuzza, a village girl, are left. Santuzza feels she dare not enter the church, and to Lucia she confesses her griefs. When Turiddu came back and found Lola married to another, he had turned to Santuzza for consolation, but now has deserted her in her need. Lucia promises to help. Turiddu comes in, on his way to church, and Santuzza reproaches him bitterly, begging him to return to her. But just then Lola passes, and Turiddu roughly throws Santuzza from him to follow Lola into the church. As Santuzza raises herself from the ground, Alfio comes on the scene, looking for his wife Lola. Hurt by Turiddu's heedless treatment of her, Santuzza pours out the whole story of Lola's infidelity, and Alfio vows vengeance. They go off together, and while the stage remains empty the Intermezzo is played, which must be one of the three or four best-known pieces of music in existence. As it dies away, people come out of church, and Turiddu invites his friends to drink with him at his mother's wine-shop. His drinking song is another very popular number. Alfio joins them, and Turiddu asks him to drink, but he refuses. The women scent the coming tragedy and carry off Lola, as Alfio issues his challenge to Turiddu. Alfio goes off to the place appointed for the duel. Turiddu seeks his mother and bids her farewell, asking her to watch over Santuzza if he should not return, and he, too, goes off. Santuzza rushes in and flings herself into Lucia's arms, and the crowd comes back, seething with excitement. From the distance voices are heard and a sudden cry that Turiddu is killed, and, as the two women fall fainting, the curtain is quickly lowered.
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