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Act One: 31 minutes. Scene change 7 minutes. Act Two: 28 minutes. Interval: 25 minutes. Act Three: 21 minutes. Interval 15 minutes. Act Four: 34 minutes. Total: 2 hours 51 minutes

Dress Code: Black Tie

Mascagni was captivated by the young Scottish romantic anti-hero of Heine's play Wilhelm Ratcliff, and he began composing his opera Guglielmo Ratcliff (translated into Italian) in 1882 whilst a student in Milan but laid it aside in order to compose Cavalleria rusticana for a competition. He won the competition, triumphing over seventy-two other entries, and Cavalleria rusticana made his name as a composer. Cavalleria rusticana is clearly anticipated in the music of Guglielmo Ratcliff, particularly in the atmospheric orchestral writing, full-blooded melodies and dramatic pace. The role of Guglielmo Ratcliff has the reputation of being one of the most demanding ever written for a tenor.

The opera is set in northern Scotland and concerns the tragic consequences of broken relationships in two generations. Maria MacGregor rejected Guglielmo Ratcliff as a husband but he is determined that no-one else shall marry her and challenges other suitors to duels, killing two of them. As Maria prepares to marry Count Douglas she learns that her mother and Guglielmo’s father had loved each other. However, her mother changed her mind and married MacGregor. The erstwhile lovers later resumed their relationship, but Maria’s father, MacGregor, killed Guglielmo’s father out of jealousy and Maria’s mother died of a broken heart. Guglielmo is haunted by the ghosts of the men he has killed and in his final delirium he kills Maria, her father and himself.

First performed at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan on 16 February 1895. Libretto based on Andrea Maffei’s Italian translation of the play Wilhelm Ratcliff by Heinrich Heine.

A short introductory talk will take place in the Jerome Hynes Theatre one hour before the performance.


Guglielmo RatcliffAngelo Villari
MariaMariangela Sicilia
Count DouglasDavid Stout
MargheritaAnnunziata Vestri
MacGregorGianluca Buratto
LesleyAlexandros Tsilogiannis
TomQuentin Hayes
WillieSarah Richmond
RobinHenry Grant Kerswel
DickStephen Anthony Brown
BellMatthew Wright
JohnRory Musgrave
TaddieRaffaele D'Ascanio
A ServantSimon Chalford Gilkes
DancersMattia Agatiello
Noemi Bresciani
Alexander McCabe
Riccardo Olivier
SupernumerariesSusan Anderson
Ryan Blanch
Zsuzsa Forgeteg
Catherine Gaul
Eoin O'Connor

Creative team

ConductorFrancesco Cilluffo
DirectorFabio Ceresa
Set DesignTiziano Santi
Costume DesignGiuseppe Palella
Lighting DesignIan Sommerville
ChoreographerRiccardo Olivier
Assistant ChoreographerAlexander McCabe
Music PreparationCarmen Santoro
Chorus MasterErrol Girdlestone
Stage ManagerTeresa Tsang
SubtitlesIan Julier
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