Further information here.
In brief: Cavalleria Rusticana is marvellous. Pagliacci is rather ordinary.
Giancarlo del Monaco stages Cavalleria Rusticana as a Greek tragedy amidst an all-white marble stage. Santuzza is a black she-wolf among the all-black clad characters. The chorus acts much like a Greek chorus - commenting on the action, which resonates fairly well with the Greek roots of Sicily. The heavy atmosphere is heavy with fate and religion. In this production Santuzza obviously is pregnant and Del Monaco compares her to Medea: She arrives, she strikes, she leaves..
Violeta Urmana, whom I´ve not previously experienced as a great actress simply gives everything as Santuzza, a part obviously very well suited to her dramatically as well as vocally while Vincenzo la Scola is more anonymous as Turiddu.
There seems to be no intermission between the two operas as Turiddu´s body is carried from the stage immediately followed by the arrival of Canio´s wagon. The Pagliacci monologue was also chosen to open the evening. Of Pagliacci I do not have much to say, and recommend a look at musicalcriticism.
Excellent conducting from Jesus Lopez Cobos with the Madrid Symphony Orchestra.
The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):
Violeta Urmana: 4
Vincenzo La Scola: 4
Vladimir Galouzine: 3-4
Maria Bayo: 4
Carlo Gulefi: 3-4
del Monaco´s production: Cavalleria: 5, Pagliacci: 4
Jesus Lopez Cobos: 4
Overall impression: 4