The usual double-bill companion for Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana is Ruggero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci. They're both verismo operas with themes of adultery and revenge, popularly known when paired as Cav'n'Pag.
But Canberra Opera has chosen a different partner for the Mascagni work.
It is presenting Cavalleria Rusticana with Giacomo Puccini's comedy Gianni Schicci to provide a performance of contrasting rather than similar works (even if Cav'n'Gia isn't quite as catchy an abbreviation).
The company has engaged Melbourne director Kate Millett to stage the operas.
She's reset Cavalleria Rusticana ("Rustic chivalry") from the late 19th century to the late 1950s though the setting in a Sicilian village remains the same.
Adapted from a story and play by Giovanni Verga, the opera tells the story of Turiddu (Ken Goodge), who returns to the village after a period away to discover that in his absence Lola (Veronica Thwaits) , his fiancee, married the carter Alfio.
Turiddu seduces another village woman, Santuzza (Anna Greenwood), and the jealous Lola begins an affair with him. Inevitably it all comes out and violence ensues.
The big numbers in the work are the Easter Hymn and the orchestral Intermezzo.
Gianni Schicci , based on an incident mentioned in Dante's Divine Comedy, was originally written as one of the three short operas in Il trittico - along with Il tabarro and Suor Angelica.
Canberra actor and singer Colin Milner, in his first Canberra Opera production, plays the title role and says Schicci is "a marvelous character to play.
"He reminds me a bit of Verdi's Falstaff," he says.
"Some people regard him as a particularly likeable character ... but he gets one up on the rich people."
Schicci is "really a peasant", he says, but he's ready to seize an opportunity to better himself and his daughter Lauretta (Hannah Carter) .
His chance comes when Rinnuccio (Alistair Colgrave), son of the wealthy and just-deceased Buoso Donati, wants to marry Lauretta. The young man finds his father's will and refuses to hand it over to his Aunt Zita and the rest of the family until Zita promises to grant him permission to wed.
But the greedy family members soon discover that Buoso left his entire estate to the monks. Their hopes of getting their hands on his money and property - particularly his mansion, race-horse and the sawmills at Signa - appear to be thwarted.
Enter Gianni Schicci, who has a devious and illegal scheme.
It involves Buoso's will being destroyed before anyone finds out he is dead and Schicci impersonating Donati to dictate a new will to a lawyer. The family agree but the result is not quite what they were expecting.
The opera is best known for Lauretta's lyrical aria O mio babbino caro ("O my dear papa") which Milner describes as "a child's manipulation of a parent to get what they want"
Millett has been impressed by the talent she's working with and says that most of the cast appear in both operas in different capacities.
Gianni Schicci. Music by Giacomo Puccini. Libretto by Giovacchino Forzano. Cavalleria Rusticana. Music by Pietro Mascagni. Libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci, adapted from the short story and play by Giovanni Verga. Conductor: Louis Sharpe. Musical directors: Michael Politi and Colleen Rae-Gerrard. Performed in English. Canberra Opera. Belconnen Theatre. Parental guidance recommended. August 23 to 25, 30 to 31. canberraopera.org.au and trybooking.com/BBMKL.