|Marcelo Alvarez and Eva Maria Westbroek|
Photo: Cory Weaver/Metropolitan Opera
In McVicar's production, Santuzza remains onstage throughout the entire hour-long opera, silently watching from the periphery when the action doesn't involve her. It's a wise, striking choice, a reminder that she lives on the margins, integral to the life of the village though shunned by her neighbors. Especially striking was the staging of the central Easter mass (the opera takes place on Easter Sunday), which Santuzza hears from outside the church. As she prays and sings the stirring "Inneggiamo, il Signor non é morto" ("Rejoice, the Lord is not dead"), the audience is reminded of the opera's important context: though it takes place on the Catholic calendar's holiest day of forgiveness, it is something Santuzza will never receive from her supposedly pious neighbors.