Cavalleria rusticana, ( Italian: “Rustic Chivalry”) opera in one act by the Italian composer Pietro Mascagni (Italian libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci) that premiered in Rome on May 17, 1890. A short and intense work, it sets to music the Italian writer Giovanni Verga’s short story (1880) and play (produced 1884) of the same name, which tells a story of love, betrayal, and revenge in Sicily. Mascagni’s opera was an instant success, and it started a trend in opera for the naturalistic, often violent verismo style associated in literature with Verga and his contemporary Luigi Capuana. In 1888 Mascagni heard of a competition for one-act operas. With four complete operas to his name, he was on the verge of submitting one act of his historical drama Guglielmo Ratcliff when he learned that his wife had already sent in Cavalleria rusticana without his knowledge. It won a top prize and went on to become an international success. The most famous excerpt is the lyrical intermezzo connecting the opera’s two scenes.